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Biden administration asks Supreme Court to let it enforce Navy SEAL vaccine mandate


Keith J Finks|Shutterstock

Zelda Caldwell - published on 03/08/22

A group of service members had filed a lawsuit saying that the COVID-19 mandate conflicted with their religious beliefs.

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The Pentagon filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court to let it enforce a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for a group of Navy SEALs who are refusing to vaccinated on religious grounds.

The Biden administration action follows a January ruling in a federal court that temporarily blocked the mandate, requiring the Navy to deploy the SEALs whether they are vaccinated or not.

According to the filing, the lower court ruling has put members of the militry at risk and affected the country’s national security.

“A SEAL who falls ill not only cannot complete his or her own mission, but risks infecting others as well, particularly in close quarters, including on submarines,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued in papers filed Monday. 

“The Navy has a compelling interest in avoiding those foreseeable risks, especially given the transmissibility and virulence of Covid-19,” read the application.

The mandate, which required that all active duty members of the military be vaccinated is being challenged by a group of 35 service members including Navy SEALs and members of the Navy Special Warfare Command.  

The group filed suit against President Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and the Defense Department. In their lawsuit they said that they objected to the mandate because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. They cited a connection between the vaccines and their testing, development, or production using aborted fetal cell lines. 

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