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Court Denies Biden Administration Attempt to Impose COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate on Navy SEALs

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A Navy member gets a COVID-19 vaccine on Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va., in a file image. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jackson Adkins via The Epoch Times)
By Zachary Stieber for EPOCH TIMES  March 1, 2022

A federal appeals court on Feb. 28 rejected an attempt by President Joe Biden’s administration to partially lift a block on the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for a group of Navy SEALs.

A federal judge in January blocked the mandate’s enforcement for 35 Navy members, many of them SEALs, ruling that while the Navy had provided a process for adjudicating religious exemption applications, “by all accounts, it is theater.”

At the time of the ruling, the Navy had granted zero religious exemptions. As of Feb. 23, it had still granted none.

Nonetheless, officials asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to allow the military to take into account the unvaccinated status of the 35 members when making “deployment, assignment and other operational decisions.” They argued that “forcing the Navy to deploy plaintiffs while they are unvaccinated threatens the success of critical missions and needlessly endangers the health and safety of other service members.”

A three-judge panel on the court rejected the request, noting the discrepancy between how the branch has handled medical and religious exemption requests.

“The Navy has granted hundreds of medical exemptions from vaccination requirements, allowing those service members to seek medical waivers and become deployable. But it has not accommodated any religious objection to any vaccine in seven years, preventing those seeking such accommodations from even being considered for medical waivers,” the panel said.

Judges said there is apparently no template for approving requests, but there is a disapproval template form. And during the process, Navy officials sent memorandums to Vice Admiral John Nowell asking that he disapprove the exemption requests, even those based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The Navy has “has effectively stacked the deck against even those exemptions supported by Plaintiffs’ immediate commanding officers and military chaplains,” emphasizing the futility of pursuing exemptions, the panel said. Further, letting 35 unvaccinated members deploy wouldn’t seriously impede military function because over 5,000 other members are still on duty despite being unvaccinated, they added.

“Defendants have not demonstrated ‘paramount interests’ that justify vaccinating these 35 Plaintiffs against COVID-19 in violation of their religious beliefs,” the ruling stated.

The panel consisted of Judges Edith Jones, a Reagan nominee; Stuart Duncan, a Trump nominee; and Kurt Engelhardt, a Trump nominee.

Mike Berry, director of military affairs for First Liberty Institute, which is representing the plaintiffs, said the group was grateful for the ruling.

“The purge of religious service members is not just devastating to morale, but it harms America’s national security. It’s time for our military to honor its constitutional obligations and grant religious accommodations for service members with sincere religious objections to the vaccine,” Berry said in a statement.

The Navy declined to comment.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, the George W. Bush nominee who entered the injunction, has yet to rule on a motion to widen the preliminary injunction to all Navy members seeking a religious exemption. He received arguments from both parties in February.

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Well known Democrat hate group to attack so called moderates for failing to go along with their form of racism, bigotry, and hate speech.

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Axios  is reporting that a well known hate group will give a rebuttal to Joe Biden’s speech. They will be attacking so called Moderates for not pushing the anti- American policies. And the so called Moderates are upset. The so called Moderates will be releasing some type of response.

It’s like keying your own car and slashing your own tires,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) told Axios.

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) also told Axios: “In times of crisis, we should all stand by our president.”

  • “It is astonishing that the radical left continues to promote a Democratic death wish, and sees no problem relegating our party to the permanent minority.”

How funny.

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