A group of Navy SEALs are fighting back against the federal government’s vaccine mandate. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled against the mandates for private businesses, they have fresh hope.
The Navy SEALs legal team, which represented a few dozen service members, has now been updated to a class action case that could have broad implications for those who requested exemptions to the mandate but were denied.
“Our clients are boldly leading the fight against the vaccine mandate, but no service member should face discipline or punishment for following their faith,” said Mike Berry, General Counsel for First Liberty Institute, the group representing the Navy SEALs. “The fact that the military continues to demonstrate hostility to anyone who expresses religious objection to the vaccine mandate shows that the Biden Administration does not care about religious freedom. The lawsuit seeks to protect as many service members as possible from further punishment. We have to put a stop to this before any more harm is done to our national security.”
A federal judge recently granted an injunction prohibiting the Navy from taking action against the service members until the case is finished.
“The Navy servicemembers in this case seek to vindicate the very freedoms they have sacrificed so much to protect,” the judge said in his ruling. “The COVID-19 pandemic provides the government no license to abrogate those freedoms. There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment. There is no military exclusion from our Constitution.”
Whether the legal effort will be successful remains to be seen.
“First Liberty attorneys argue that the Department of Defense is violating the First Amendment to the Constitution, federal law, and Department of Defense regulations,” the group said. “The vaccine mandate substantially burdens servicemembers’ free exercise of religion, and the Department of Defense has failed to prove it has a compelling government interest, or that there are no less restrictive ways to further its effort to mitigate the Covid-19 virus.”