Despite the Department of Defense rescinding the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, unvaccinated military members are still facing repercussions, including denied benefits, ineligibility for promotion, being non-deployable, and potentially diminished employment prospects for those already discharged.
On Dec. 23, President Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the $858 billion defense spending bill that included a measure repealing the mandate. On Dec. 29, the Defense Department followed suit, rescinding the mandate that has frayed military morale and resulted in the discharge of over 8,000 service members who refused the vaccine.
In rescinding the vaccine mandate, the DOD acknowledged the NDAA requires Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to rescind his Aug. 24, 2021 memo issuing the sweeping order.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost applauded a federal appeals court decision to block the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Cincinnati agreed late Thursday with a lower court ruling that imposed a preliminary injunction on the proposed mandate that would have also required tens of millions of Americans to wear face masks at work.
The Department of Defense (DOD) officially scrapped the requirement that all members of the armed forces be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin introduced the mandate in August 2021 as Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines were expected to become available, citing the impact of rising case numbers on the military’s readiness. However, after more than a year of legal challenges to the mandate and at least 8,400 discharges for refusing the vaccine, Congress instructed Austin to reverse course in the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
While the Biden administration has officially reversed the military COVID-19 vaccination mandate, servicemembers who escaped discharge for refusing the vaccine still risk retaliation and could be booted anyway, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Ongoing class action lawsuits thwarted the military’s efforts to discharge thousands of troops who objected to the mandate before the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law Friday, overturned it. However, servicemembers may risk reprisal even after the deadline passes for the Department of Defense (DOD) to implement the repeal, staining the records of thousands of servicemembers for the remainder of their careers, experts explained to the DCNF.
On Monday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Biden Administration’s rule mandating that all federal contractors receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the 5th Circuit’s three-judge panel voted by a 2-1 margin to uphold a prior decision by a lower court that blocked the rule, first implemented by the Biden White House in September of 2021. That ruling came as a result of a lawsuit by the states of Indiana, Louisiana, and Mississippi seeking the overturning of the mandate.
Florida Republican Rep. Greg Steube is vowing to introduce legislation to obtain justice for those punished for refusing to comply with the military’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
“I intend on filing my own bill,” Steube said on the John Solomon Reports podcast Wednesday. “I am … not naive” about prospects for passage of such a bill in a Democrat-controlled Senate, he said, “but thankfully, the House has the power of the purse, and … when we do the appropriations process over the next year, we can put riders on appropriations bills to tell the Department of Defense how they’re going to give relief to these individuals.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has ended the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for its personnel, according to a memorandum exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“CBP is halting the COVID-19 screening program, and employees may choose to withdraw their pending reasonable accommodation requests for screening exemption,” an internal CBP memorandum stated. National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd confirmed to the DCNF that both the vaccine mandate and testing requirements have been lifted.
A U.S. Army pilot who reluctantly received a COVID-19 vaccination has been reprimanded and denied promotion — and could still face discharge and the loss of his wings — after questioning the vaccine and filing complaints about allegedly biased investigations of him, according to his wife and her attorney.
Jessica Hill-Budge, the wife of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brandon Budge in the 7th Infantry Division’s 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, told Just the News that her husband is likely to lose his nearly 20-year military career due to improperly conducted official investigations of his case.
A former National Guardsman who sought a religious exemption to the military COVID-19 vaccine mandate was given the mRNA shot instead of an inoculation for the flu “accidentally,” according to the service.
After refusing the COVID vaccine multiple times and requesting a religious exemption to the mandate, former Maine National Guard Specialist Mathew Bouchard was given the mRNA shot instead of the flu vaccine months before he was to leave the service, he told Just the News on Thursday.
Two U.S. Representatives from Eastern Washington have signed onto a letter that urges the Biden Administration to drop all vaccine requirements for people entering the United States from Canada.
Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, and Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, say the decision to send the letter follows Canada lifting vaccine mandates for international travelers entering the country despite Biden’s refusal to follow suit.
More than two dozen members of Congress and nearly half the states are supporting Navy SEALs in their legal efforts to secure religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates, rejecting the Biden administration’s invocation of judicial deference to military decisions.
They filed friend-of-the-court briefs with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week, arguing the “near-total denial rate” for religious requests and preference for nonreligious requests violates the Free Exercise Clause, the “overwhelmingly bipartisan” Religious Freedom Restoration Act and state RFRAs.
U.S District Court Judge Steven Merryday issued a blistering rebuke of the Department of Defense and Marine Corps for refusing to grant religious accommodation requests to service members.
Merryday did so when issuing a 48-page ruling Thursday in which he granted class action status for all active and reserve U.S. Marine Corps service men and women in a lawsuit filed against the Secretary of Defense over the department’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
A federal court in Ohio entered a nationwide preliminary injunction Thursday prohibiting the U.S. Air Force from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate against religious objectors.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio’s order in Doster v. Kendall remains effective until a full trial is held. It follows the temporary restraining order the court issued July 14 when it granted class action status for all Air Force plaintiffs nationwide. Class status protects all active-duty Airmen, active reserve, National Guard, Air Force Academy cadets, the Air Force Reserve Command, and Space Force members.
Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, investigated how different state National Guards are reacting to the Army’s June 30, 2022, deadline for all active-duty and reserve components to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
On Thursday, a federal court upheld Joe Biden’s mandate that all federal government employees be forced to take a coronavirus vaccine.
The New York Post reports that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana issued a ruling that overturned a lower court’s decision to block the mandate, which was first issued in September of 2021. In January, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown had ruled the mandate unconstitutional, determining that the rule constituted an overstep in federal authority.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted to strike down Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate targeting healthcare workers at federally funded facilities. The measure passed on a party-line vote of 49 to 44.
No Democrat senators voted with Republicans to repeal the mandate, but GOP senators were able to get the resolution through the Senate because six Democrats missed the vote, The Hill reported.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), who physician, and former military officer. Before voting began, Marshall argued that the CMS vaccine mandate is “not about public health or science.”
On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a group of Navy SEALs who defied the U.S. Navy’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, dealing one of the biggest blows yet to the military mandate.
As reported by The Daily Caller, the court’s ruling was similar to a previous decision by a district judge in Fort Worth, Texas in January, who ordered a temporary halt to the Navy’s vaccine mandate while the case moved forward. The lawsuit was filed by a group of 35 Navy SEALs who all sought religious exemptions from being forced to take the vaccine.
The appeals court ruled that the Department of Defense failed to prove that the vaccine mandate served “‘paramount interests’ that justify vaccinating these 35 Plaintiffs against COVID-19 in violation of their religious beliefs.” The court noted that despite the Navy claiming to have a “compelling interest” in forcing all sailors to get vaccinated, it “undermined” its own mandate by preparing unvaccinated SEALs for deployment while the pandemic was still ongoing.
In a letter to the House Speaker and Senate President Friday, President Joe Biden extended the national COVID-19 emergency pandemic indefinitely.
“There remains a need to continue this national emergency,” Biden wrote.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is lifting the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and will not extend its mask requirement into March.
The Democratic mayor also says that as of Tuesday many businesses in the nation’s capital will no longer be required to check that customers have at least one dose of the vaccine before allowing them to enter. However, they will still be allowed to make such a request on their own, according to dcist.com.
New York City recently fired nearly 1,500 municipal workers who failed to comply with its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, officials said Monday.
City officials said 1,430 workers were fired Friday and that the number represents less than 1% of the city’s 370,000-person workforce. The number was also far smaller than what they had predicted.
Two years after COVID burst on the American scene, leading to lockdowns, school closures, mask and vaccine mandates, and trillions of dollars in emergency government spending, the question on many minds is: When will the emergency end?
The answer to that question is not an easy one. An examination of past emergencies does not resolve it. Rather, it is clear that emergency situations, including this one, may be understood through various lenses, yielding different perspectives on what the endpoint will be.
Take, by way of comparison, World War II, an emergency that had at least four distinct endings because it had at least four distinct faces:
As the mid-term elections approach, a number of Democrat governors are now following in the steps of Republican Governors Ron DeSantis (FL) and Glenn Youngkin (VA) in support of dropping mask mandates.
Supported by their political and media allies, the governors of states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, California, and Oregon are now announcing mask mandates in schools may be dropped soon, as the New York Times reported Tuesday.
In New Brunswick, Canada, a father of three lost custody of his children after a single judge ruled that his unvaccinated status was a danger to his children.
According to USA Today, the concerned father presented evidence to the judge that pointed out possible harmful effects of the Pfizer-BioTech vaccine, as proof that his concerns about taking the vaccine were valid. But Justice Nathalie Godbout, of the Court of Queen’s Bench, ruled against him by simply deferring to “public health officials” as being superior to his own research.
Sixteen states again are challenging a federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers who work at facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Friday’s filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana comes after the issuance of final guidance on the mandate from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), arguing the guidance is an action that is reviewable.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by 5-4 vote Jan. 13 against the original Louisiana challenge to the mandate and a similar Missouri filing.
The First Liberty Institute (FLI) on Monday amended their lawsuit against the Department of Defense and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to sue for religious protections for all members of the U.S. Navy.
The suit, which originally only included U.S. Navy SEALs, claims the Navy has been unwilling to grant religious exemptions to the coronavirus mandate handed down by President Joe Biden.
A federal judge in Texas on Friday temporarily blocked the federal government from enforcing President Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal employees.
One of the lawyers in the historic U.S. Supreme Court case that blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate on private business is warning it is only a preliminary victory and the larger constitutional issues about government-compelled inoculations must still be litigated.
“In some ways, yesterday was a win of a major battle, but still leaves the war to be fought,” said Robert Henneke, executive director and general counsel at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which filed one of the original challenges in Texas against the vaccine mandate that was eventually consolidated before the Supreme Court.
“While it got to the right outcome for declaring the private employer vax mandate unlawful, it kind of misses the forest for the trees because it leaves these broader questions of federal power unresolved,” he told the John Solomon Reports podcast.
American corporation General Electric this week announced that it would no longer require its 56,000 employees to undergo either the COVID-19 vaccination or regular testing after the Supreme Court struck down the White House’s employer vaccine mandate.
The company suspended its enforcement of that policy on Friday, one day after the court said the Biden administration could not force large U.S. companies to require vaccinations for their employees.
President Joe Biden has urged companies to continue with their own personal mandates after his administration’s own efforts were stymied by the Supreme Court.
Tea Party Patriots Action (TPPA) and the Job Creators Network (JCN) praised the ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court that prohibited President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses.
The mandate, which would have been enacted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, could have forced businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate the vaccine or weekly testing.
In a Thursday afternoon ruling, the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s OSHA vaccine mandate that would apply to American workers.
The court allowed a separate policy, that requires vaccinations for most health-care workers at facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funding, to stand.
President Joe Biden’s series of controversial federal vaccine mandates faced their first day before the U.S. Supreme Court Friday, and critics are urging the justices to side with personal freedoms over what they call executive branch overreach.
National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, the first of two cases heard by the court Friday, considers a vaccine mandate on private employers with 100 or more employees. The second case, Biden v. Missouri, challenges Biden’s mandate on health care workers.
“Today was one of the most important moments in our nation’s history,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, which has joined the legal challenges to Biden’s mandate push, said. “The Biden administration, and many on the far left, believe that the federal government has the right and the authority to dictate personal and private medical decisions to the American people, and coerce their employers into collecting protected health care data on their employees. This overreach is a fundamental violation of the American spirit of freedom and personal responsibility and represents the left’s assault not just on common sense, but our constitutional rights.”
The Supreme Court on Friday hearing oral arguments on two major Biden administration efforts to increase the country’s vaccination rate against COVID-19 — starting with the mandate requiring large-scale employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested.
In the first case, the National Federation of Independent Business, et al., Applicants v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al.
OSHA is more specifically requiring businesses with 100 or more workers either require them to be vaccinated or et tested weekly and wear masks while working, with exceptions for those who work outdoors.
The majority of Americans support Congressional efforts to block President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates for large businesses ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on that very issue, according to a new poll.
Convention of States Action, along with the Trafalgar Group, released the poll, which found that 51.1% of surveyed voters support a bill in Congress to stop Biden’s vaccine mandates for large businesses. The poll reports that 40.6% of voters do not support the bill while 8.3% of voters are unsure.
The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan measure in December to block Biden’s mandate, which requires employers with at least 100 workers to ensure they are vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. Businesses that do not comply face hefty fines. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would enforce the mandate.
On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) filed a lawsuit against the administration of Joe Biden over the federal vaccine requirement for members of the National Guard.
As reported by CNN, Abbott’s lawsuit declares that the vaccine mandate for the Texas National Guard infringes on “Governor Abbott’s authority as Commander in Chief and on Texas’s sovereignty,” and that “it is unlawful for Defendants to attempt to override the Governor’s authority to govern his troops, and then leave him to deal with the harms that they leave in their wake.”
The lawsuit is in response to a policy implemented by an August memorandum from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, declaring that all members of the American military must be vaccinated or else face discharge. Austin declared that the mandate would include non-federalized National Guard members, such as state National Guards, and that any states that defied the mandate would face a funding freeze or see members be prohibited from engaging in military duties.
The Navy and Air Force are allegedly issuing predetermined blanket denials of requests for religious exemptions from the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, in violation of federal law and regulations.
Vice Admiral John Nowell, deputy chief of naval operations for manpower, personnel, training, and education, created a 50-step standard operating procedure streamlining the denials of these requests, known as religious accommodation requests (RARs).
The military is required by law to evaluate RARs on an individual basis to ensure due process under the Fifth Amendment and protect service members’ First Amendment right to religious freedom.
The Nevada Legislative Commission’s 6-6 split decision last week overturned the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all college students within the state.
Initially approved in August by the Nevada State Board of Health, the emergency provision was set to last only 120-days, according to The Nevada Independent. When the mandate expired last week and was sent to the Legislative Commission for review, the Commission chose not to make it permanent, with all six Republican lawmakers voting against the mandate and all six Democrats for it.
A federal judge has blocked COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates in Texas’ schools Head Start program, a decision that GOP Gov. Greg Abbott is calling a win over “Biden again.”
“Texas just beat Biden again,” Abbott, a staunch opponent of such mandates, tweeted after the ruling Friday by Judge James “Wesley” Hendrix, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Hendrix, a Trump administration appointee, wrote in the ruling: “The Court concludes that the circumstances do not justify or require a nationwide injunction,” according to KLBK Lubbock. “The great majority of evidence before the Court is limited to harm caused to Head Start programs in Texas.”
On Tuesday, a district court judge ruled against the state of Oklahoma in its effort to block the coronavirus vaccine mandate for members of the state’s National Guard, The Hill reports.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot explained his reasoning in a 29-page ruling, in which he rejected a motion filed by Governor Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) and Attorney General John O’Connor (R-Okla.) to indefinitely block the mandate; Judge Friot claimed that the plaintiffs’ claim was “without merit.”
“The court is required to decide this case on the basis of federal law, not common sense,” said Friot in his ruling. “But, either way, the result would be the same. The claims asserted by the Governor and his co-plaintiffs are without merit.”
Boeing Friday said it has suspended its requirement that U.S.-based employees be fully vaccinated or face losing their jobs.
The announcement comes as several attempts by President Joe Biden to require vaccinations for workers in various settings have been blocked by courts in recent weeks.
“Boeing is committed to maintaining a safe working environment for our customers, and advancing the health and safety of our global workforce,” a company spokesperson told KOMO News. “As such, we continue to encourage our employees to get vaccinated and get a booster if they have not done so. Meanwhile, after careful review, Boeing has suspended its vaccine requirement in line with a federal court’s decision prohibiting the enforcement of the federal contractor executive order and a number of state laws.”
Los Angeles Unified School District will hold off enforcement until the start of the Fall 2022 semester for a vaccine mandate that would have moved thousands of students out of the classroom and into remote learning.
The LAUSD’s Board of Education voted Tuesday to suspend enforcement of a vaccine mandate for all students 12 and older until the fall. The original mandate, which passed in September, required students to show proof of full vaccination or obtain an exemption by Jan. 10, 2022, to continue attending in-person classes.
America’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., told unvaccinated employees at the Manhattan offices that they must remain at home and work remotely, multiple sources reported.
Tuesday’s new rule allows only vaccinated employees and visitors to enter the bank’s Manhattan offices, a JPMorgan spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Maks will be required when walking through lobbies, using elevators and in the company restaurants when not eating.
Google told its employees that they would lose pay and eventually their jobs if they did not abide by the company’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC.
Employees had until Dec. 3 to state their vaccination status to the company and upload the required documentation or to apply for a medical or religious exemption, according to the memo, CNBC reported.
The number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 rose to 17,192 after the federal mandate deadline, according to a document obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The DCNF earlier reported that as of Nov. 14, 16,500 border agents were fully vaccinated, and 4,165 border agents were unvaccinated. The federal mandate deadline was Nov. 22.
A federal judge in Georgia on Tuesday blocked the only remaining vaccine mandate issued by President Joe Biden’s administration.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge Stan Baker will halt a provision that required contractors working with the federal government to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
On Thursday, the state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit to exempt members of the state’s National Guard from the nationwide coronavirus vaccine mandate, The Hill reports.
The suit, filed in federal court by Governor Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) and Attorney General John O’Connor (R-Okla.), names Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as defendants. The suit requests that the courts declare the national vaccine mandate for all members of the armed services to be unconstitutional, and thus enjoin the federal government from enforcing it on the Oklahoma National Guard; the suit also seeks to prevent the federal government from imposing its penalty for refusal to comply, which would include withholding federal funds from the state’s National Guard.
“This mandate ensures that many Oklahoma National Guard members will simply quit instead of getting a vaccine,” the suit reads in part, “a situation that will irreparably harm Oklahomans’ safety and security.”
A group of roughly 600 Google employees signed onto a letter opposing the tech giant’s company-wide vaccination mandate and called for its repeal.
Google first imposed a requirement in July that all of its in-person workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. The company is now asking all of its workers, including those working from home, to upload their vaccination status to the company website by Dec. 3 due to the federal contractor vaccine requirement, according to CNBC.
After The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday to keep its stay of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) emergency rule that would require employers of more than 100 employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines in place, the federal agency says that it will no longer pursue private sector vaccine mandates at this time.
“On November 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, published on November 5, 2021 (86 Fed. Reg. 61402) (“ETS”),” OSHA said in a statement. “The court ordered that OSHA ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the ETS ‘until further court order.’ While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.”
President Joe Biden is struggling to win in court as well as the court of public opinion when it comes to his response to COVID-19.
Biden’s approval rating on his handling of the pandemic has steadily dropped as he has issued more vaccine mandates, with one of those mandates seemingly dead in the water.
The head of the Oklahoma National Guard won’t require troops to comply with the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but don’t expect the Georgia National Guard to follow Oklahoma’s example.
Adjutant General of Georgia Major General Thomas Carden told The Georgia Star News on Monday that he intends to follow orders.
On Friday, Customs and Border Patrol agents received instructions on a new policy: Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security would no longer allow deportations of Nicaraguan illegal aliens under Title 42, a clause within the 1944 Public Health Services Law that “allows the government to prevent the introduction of individuals during certain public health emergencies.”
All Nicaraguans entering the U.S. illegally, with some exceptions related to criminal history, will be released directly into the U.S. as of Friday afternoon, Just The News has learned.
The order to all CBP agents was issued verbally on a conference call. Official orders in writing are expected soon. The Department of Homeland Security has not issued a statement, nor has CBP.