Mike Berry, director of military affairs and general counsel at First Liberty Institute, explains that the U.S. solicitor general has filed an emergency motion asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a preliminary injunction issued in January by a federal district court. Judge Reed O'Connor stopped the Department of Defense from taking adverse action against First Liberty Institute's clients—35 Navy SEALs and other special warfare personnel who have religious objections to the vaccine mandate.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit last week denied a request by the government to stay the injunction.
"As far as we're concerned, the district court judge, Judge O'Connor, got it right," Berry submits. "The Fifth Circuit got it right, and we see no reason to change anything unless you're the Biden administration and you want permission to continue punishing people in the military because of their religious beliefs."
But Berry is unsure of how SCOTUS may rule.
"It's hard to predict what the Supreme Court might do, because the military is a little bit different," the attorney notes. "But at the same time, just because the military is different, I don't think that they should lose their rights as Americans. Yet that seems to be exactly what the Biden administration wants."
So while there is no COVID exception in the Constitution, Berry reiterates that it is difficult to predict what the Supreme Court will rule in this case.