By Bethany Blankley (The Middle Sq.)
Liberty Counsel is continuous with its lawsuits in federal court docket over the Division of Protection COVID-19 vaccine mandate even after the mandate was rescinded this week.
Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver advised The Middle Sq. he wasn’t assured that the DOD wouldn’t proceed to retaliate in opposition to service members who’d filed spiritual lodging requests (RARs) and has expressed issues about all navy branches failing to adjust to the Non secular Freedom Restoration Act.
The Orlando-based spiritual freedom authorized basis is scheduled to go to trial in one in every of its instances subsequent month in federal court docket earlier than Choose Steven Merryday. It’s asking the court docket to grant everlasting class motion reduction for everybody serving within the U.S. Marine Corps from the mandate. Final August, Merryday issued a classwide preliminary injunction.
In a separate case, Liberty Counsel introduced oral arguments final month earlier than the Eleventh Circuit Courtroom of Appeals on behalf of a U.S. Marine lieutenant colonel and Navy commander of a warship.
“These navy heroes have sacrificed all the pieces to defend America,” Staver stated. “Liberty Counsel continues to pursue a everlasting injunction in opposition to the Division of Protection in order that this abuse by no means once more occurs to our service members.”
On Jan. 10, the DOD formally rescinded its Aug. 24, 2021, and Nov. 30, 2021, memoranda mandating that every one members of the U.S. navy, together with the Nationwide Guard and Prepared Reserves, take the emergency use authorization COVID-19 pictures or face discharge and different disciplinary measures. Congress required it to rescind the mandate when it handed the Nationwide Protection Authorization Act. The president signed the NDAA into regulation regardless of opposing ending the mandate, and after 1000’s of service members’ RARs have been denied, have been punished, demoted and discharged.
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The DOD stated it might adjust to the regulation and “proceed to advertise and encourage COVID-19 vaccination for all Service members.” Those that didn’t get the pictures attributable to spiritual, administrative or medical causes wouldn’t face discharge, in line with the DOD memo. And repair members’ information could be up to date to take away any hostile actions solely related to denials of their exemption requests, together with letters of reprimand.
The brand new coverage doesn’t enable reinstatement for individuals who have been discharged for refusing to conform. Nevertheless, those that have been discharged can contact their discharge assessment board to request a correction to their personnel information, “together with information concerning the characterization of their discharge,” Liberty Counsel notes.
For these nonetheless within the navy, every department has been instructed to “additional stop any ongoing opinions of present Service member spiritual administrative, or medical lodging requests solely for exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine or appeals of denials of such requests.”
Liberty Counsel says it’s not assured that the DOD received’t finish all retaliation in opposition to service members who filed RARs in gentle of actions taken in opposition to service members it’s described as “merciless and strange punishment,” inflicting some to commit suicide.
It additionally raises issues a couple of directive within the steerage, which states, “All commanders have the duty and authority to protect the Division’s compelling curiosity in mission accomplishment. This duty and authority consists of the power to take care of navy readiness, unit cohesion, good order and self-discipline, and the well being and security of a resilient Joint Power.”
This appears to suggest that “getting the COVID-19 pictures is the duty of the commander,” Staver stated.
The DOD “has taken the place in litigation that refusing to take the pictures after the RAR is denied undermines good order and self-discipline,” he added. “In different phrases, a commander who pledges to defend the Structure and the legal guidelines of the land can be thought-about insubordinate for requesting that the legal guidelines of the land be enforced. That is satirically unhappy.”
Syndicated with permission from The Middle Sq..