Members of the military, federal workers and government contractors have filed a class action against President Biden’s federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate, arguing they have not been afforded religious exemptions — or had those honored — for the shots.
The group includes Navy SEALs and Marines, among others, who charge the federal government is infringing on their constitutional rights, particularly the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom.
Under Mr. Biden’s order, Navy and Marine Corp. members have to be vaccinated by Nov. 28. Army and Air Force members must be vaccinated by Dec. 15. The coast guard and federal employees have until Nov. 22.
The deadlines were set as part of the president’s plans to require vaccinations for all federal workers as part of the push for more Americans to get the jab.
“Relief is needed now to prevent these military heroes, federal employees, and federal contractors from facing punishments including dishonorable discharge, court-martial, other life-altering disciplinary procedures, and termination,” reads the lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month.
They are asking the judge to issue an injunction halting the mandate and a hearing has been set for Nov. 15.
The case is pending before Judge Steven D. Merryday, a Bush appointee, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Another group of federal workers also have a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
That lawsuit was filed last week. It argues that the mandate runs afoul of federal law, requesting the court issue a nationwide injunction.
The case has not yet been assigned to a judge.
Mr. Biden’s Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the legal battles.
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