A ruling came down from a Texas federal judge Friday saying President Joe Biden cannot mandate federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It also blocked the government from disciplining any employees for failing to comply.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown said the merit in question is whether Biden could “require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment. That, under the current state of law as just recently expressed by the Supreme Court, is a bridge too far” he ruled.
Biden had issued an executive order requiring roughly 3.5 million workers to get vaccinated by November 22nd, unless religious or medical exemption was granted or face disciplinary action. In many cases, the consequence was to get fired.
Judge Brown, based in Galveston, was appointed by former President Donald Trump. He suggested less invasive measures could be implemented to protect the public such as masking and social distancing.
The Supreme Court temporarily blocked President Biden’s mandated vaccine-or-test policy, which began a landslide of large businesses disregarding any vaccination requirements. Starbucks was among the largest, well-known employer to do so.
Brown is not the only case to be in-line with the Supreme Court’s decision. In December, a mandate for employees of federal contractors to be vaccinated was blocked by a federal judge.
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Watchdog: Pentagon likely rushed denials of COVID-19 vaccine Religious Exemption requests
The Army only approved just 24 religious COVID-19 vaccine exemption requests out of a total 8,514 requests submitted by active duty soldiers, and 1,602 requests have been rejected while the rest remain pending.
Military.com obtained information showing the Pentagon rushed vaccine exemption denials:
Sean O’Donnell, the Pentagon’s inspector general, wrote in a June 2 memo to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin obtained by Military.com calling attention to a “concerning” trend in which military brass rushed to reject vaccine-exemption petitions rather than giving each request due consideration.
“We found a trend of generalized assessments rather than the individualized assessment that is required by Federal law and DoD and Military Service policies,” he said. “Some of the appellate decisions included documentation that demonstrated a greater consideration of facts and circumstances involved in a request.”
In March, a Texas judge blocked the Navy from dismissing sailors with pending exemption requests and in August, a Florida federal judge ordered class action relief and granted an injunction barring the federal government from enforcing the vaccine mandate for the Marine Corps.
National Review writes, “For the last year, military has been struggling with a recruitment problem. As of July, with only three months left in the fiscal year, the Army had met only 40 percent of its recruitment goal and reduced its active-duty force by 12,000 troops.”
O’Donnell calculated that officials likely gave each appeal a cursory glance rather than a thorough examination, possibly opening the door to litigation from service members who had to resign after they failed to obtain exemptions. Across all the branches, there were about 50 denials per day in a 90-day period, he determined. Over a thousand Coast Guardsmen have already tried to launch a class-action lawsuit in response to their being refused religious exemptions, the publication noted.
“The volume and rate at which decisions were made to deny requests is concerning,” the memo read. “Assuming a 10-hour work day with no breaks or attention to other matters, the average review period was about 12 minutes for each package. Such a review period seems insufficient to process each request in an individualized manner and still perform the duties required of their position.”
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