A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has barred the Biden administration from firing federal workers or discharging U.S. military personnel for their refusal to take a COVID-19 vaccine.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Bill Clinton appointee, issued a temporary restraining order on Thursday in response to a lawsuit filed by federal civilian workers and active-duty military personnel.
“None of the civilian employee plaintiffs will be subject to discipline while his or her request for a religious exception is pending,” Kollar-Kotelly, a former presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, ordered, Fox News reported.
In addition, the judge ruled that “active duty military plaintiffs, whose religious exception requests have been denied, will not be disciplined or separated during the pendency of their appeals.”
“This is an amazing development from the DC District Court in the stand for OUR RIGHTS against the unconstitutional vaccine mandates,” Jenna Ellis, a former senior legal adviser to then-President Donald Trump, noted online.
BREAKING: @Yoder_Esq with a HUGE WIN in Church v. Biden.
(Yes, that’s the actual case caption. For those playing along, 1:21-cv-2815)
This is an amazing development from the DC District Court in the stand for OUR RIGHTS against the unconstitutional vaccine mandates. pic.twitter.com/kWus7XQ4pp
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) October 28, 2021
In addition, Kollar-Kotelly ordered Biden administration defendants to file an additional notice by noon Friday detailing whether or not they agree not to terminate or discipline any of the plaintiffs pending the ruling.
Biden issued an executive order Sept. 9 ordering all federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The Pentagon ordered all active-duty and reserve members to get the jab in August after the Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine. Biden’s order exempts Congress, congressional staffers and the federal court system.
“The Biden administration has shown an unprecedented, cavalier attitude toward the rule of law and an utter ineptitude at basic constitutional contours,” plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Yoder noted in a statement to Fox News.
“This combination is dangerous to American liberty. Thankfully, our Constitution protects and secures the right to remain free from religious persecution and coercion,” Yoder added. “With this order, we are one step closer to putting the Biden administration back in its place by limiting government to its enumerated powers.
“It’s time citizens and courts said no to tyranny. The Constitution does not need to be rewritten, it needs to be reread,” he added.
Earlier this month, 24 plaintiffs represented by the Liberty Counsel filed a class-action lawsuit against the Defense Department which stated that military members “face a deadline under the Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate to receive a COVID-19 vaccine that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs, and have been refused any religious exemption or accommodation.”
That suit, filed in federal court in Florida, lists President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as defendants.
“Plaintiffs have demonstrated their commitments to the United States Constitution and the Nation’s future comfort, security, and prosperity,” says the legal filing. “This Court should demand that the Nation return the favor.”
Others are asserting that Biden’s vaccine mandate is unconstitutional.
As Kollar-Kotelly was issuing her ruling, GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida announced that officials in his state have also filed suit against the administration for its mandate involving federal contractors.
Federal civilian employees and contractors have a deadline of Nov. 22 to become fully vaccinated under Biden’s order. The military’s vaccine directives came with threats of suspension from duty, less-than-honorable discharges, and other actions for non-compliance.
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