Pentagon Weighs Options After Court Blocks Enforcement of Vaccine Mandate

Pentagon Weighs Options After Court Blocks Enforcement of Vaccine Mandate aerial view of pentagon (Dreamstime)

By Brian Freeman | Wednesday, 05 January 2022 10:49 AM

Department of Defense officials are considering what their next step will be after a federal judge earlier this week issued an injunction preventing the military from punishing a group of Navy SEALs who have requested religious exemptions to the Pentagon’s coronavirus mandate, The Epoch Times has reported.

Speaking of the injunction, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters, "We’re reviewing it and in discussions with the Department of Justice as to what options might be available to us going forward."

In issuing the injunction, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor said members of the Navy SEALs had a right to refuse the vaccine because of their religious beliefs, Axios reported.

"The Navy provides a religious accommodation process, but by all accounts, it is theater," O’Connor wrote. "The Navy has not granted a religious exemption to any vaccine in recent memory. It merely rubber stamps each denial," he continued, according to The Epoch Times.

The judge added that the way the process for adjudicating exemption requests is set up means the requests "are denied the moment they begin."

The case could eventually make its way to the Supreme Court, which has so far not intervened against any coronavirus vaccine mandates.

However, this Friday the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear challenges to the Biden administration’s private employer vaccine mandate.

Meanwhile, the state of Texas on Tuesday sued over the attempt to force National Guardsmen to get vaccinated.

The suit declares that the National Guard is under state control unless mobilized by the federal government, with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton insisting that "neither the president nor federal military officials can order the governor of Texas and nonfederalized National Guardsmen to comply with a vaccination mandate or to direct a particular disciplinary action for failure to comply."

The Pentagon insists that it does have the authority to force National Guard troops to get vaccinated. Last month a federal judge rejected an attempt by Oklahoma to block the mandate.