Military Mandate Case

Military Mandate Case

Military Mandate Case

Re: the Legality by the DoD to force Covid Injections unto Military Personal who Object on Religious Grounds

 

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Facts of the Case

  • Date Filed: Oct. 15, 2021
  • Location: Florida, USA
  • Court: US District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • Case #: 8:21-cv-2429-SDM-TGW
  • Plaintiffs: Navy Seal 1, et al
  • Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Liberty Counsel
  • Defendant: Lloyd Austin, DoD secretary
  • Trial Type: Human Rights
  • Judge: Steven Merryday
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Verdict: TBD


*updated Apr 27, 2022

 

Background

Liberty Counsel on Friday (Oct 15, 2021) announced a class action lawsuit on behalf of members of all five branches of the U.S. military – the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard – against President Joe Biden over his orders they take the experimental COVID shots or face dishonorable discharge. [1]

“The Biden administration has no authority to require the COVID shots for the military or for federal employees or civilian contractors,” explained Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel chairman. [1]

“Nor can the Biden administration pretend that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment do not apply to its unlawful mandates. The commander-in-chief must end this shameful treatment and abuse of our brave military heroes. Forcing the COVID shots without consent or consideration for their sincere religious beliefs is illegal.” [1]

It seeks a temporary restraining order preventing Biden and his appointees from “enforcing, threatening to enforce, attempting to enforce, or otherwise requiring compliance with the Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate…” [1]

Other defendants are Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. [1]

Liberty Counsel said the non-military plaintiffs include a Department of Defense contractor who has conducted Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance quantitative and qualitative assessments and studies, whose assessments are briefed to DOD senior leadership to inform decisions on future employment, allocation, and procurement; a federal civilian engineer employed by a large military defense contractor that provides LCD screens used in United States Armed Forces aircraft; a federal civilian contractor employer whose company develops and supports military weapons systems, including current and next generation land vehicles for the Army and next generation Navy vessels; a federal nuclear contractor employee who is a young woman opposed to abortion and who desires to have children of her own one day; and a Department of Energy Civilian Nuclear Tech who works at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. [1]

Liberty Counsel has been providing legal assistance to more than 700 service members from the Army, Air Force, Space Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Liberty Counsel maintains an internal “Service Member Final Denial List” for service members who have contacted Liberty Counsel and whose final Religious Accommodation Request appeals have been denied. Based on this list alone, the U.S. military will continue to lose highly qualified and experienced personnel. [3]

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Liberty Counsel represents plaintiffs from all branches of the military who were denied religious exemptions from the COVID shot mandate. The military has violated the Constitution and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act with this unlawful COVID shot mandate. The abuse of military heroes is inhumane and unlawful. The Department of Defense acts likes it is above the law. This abuse and unlawful action must end.” [3]

 
The Plaintiffs:

The action in U.S. District Court in Florida is on behalf of two Navy SEALs, a Navy EOD Officer, a Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer, a Navy Chaplain, two Marine Lt. Colonels, two Marine Lance Corporals, an Air Force Major, an Air Force Technical Sergeant, an Army National Guardsman, an Army Colonel, and a Coast Guard Lieutenant. [1] As of March, 30 plaintiffs are listed [4]

The individuals for whom the case was filed are not named, but in a sworn statement on Navy chaplain explained,

“I personally observed (and the Sailors told me in the course of counseling about) tremendous amounts of coercion, bullying, censorship, and intimidation being brought forth by the command to bear against the personnel who expressed objections of any kind to the COVID shot mandates, including religious objections…And clearly, the military has lost more lives to the increase in suicide from 2020-2021 (at least 1,012) than to all of COVID in 2 years (~52), but suicide has not been a focus.” [1]

  • One plaintiff is a U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel who faced immediate and irreparable harm beginning today. Her appeal for religious exemption was denied. Today she was to be added to the Officer Disciplinary Notebook, and her command selection withdrawn, irreparably damaging her career. This event would have begun the process of her ultimate discharge from the Marine Corps.   [5]
  • Another plaintiff, a U.S. Navy Command Surface Warfare Officer, faced immediate discipline on February 3, at which time he would have been removed from command of his ship, irreparably damaging his career because he was denied a religious exemption from the COVID shot. [5]
  • Also under Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin, Liberty Counsel is representing a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy who is seeking legal relief after the Colorado Springs-based school ordered him to choose either the COVID-19 vaccination or “voluntary” resignation from the Academy. [6]

The unnamed cadet, according to Liberty Counsel, believes that God has called him to serve in the Air Force – but also holds a sincerely held religious belief that he shouldn’t receive any of the COVID shots because of their connections to abortion. [6]

Gordon Klingenschmitt is a former Navy chaplain who attended the Air Force Academy and runs the Pray In Jesus Name project. He tells AFN

“Cadet X” isn’t the only military cadet taking a stand against the mandate. “I’m told now 16 cadets at West Point and an equal number at the Air Force Academy are in danger of being separated because of their religious views,” he concludes. [6]

 
How this case is different from the Supreme Court Ruling

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a partial stay, that focused solely on deployment, in the case of Navy SEALS 1-26 v. Austin. Although the names of the cases can be confusing, Liberty Counsel does not represent the case on which the Supreme Court ruled last Friday but does represent about 30 plaintiffs from all military branches seeking class certification in Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin. [7]

In its order last Friday, the Supreme Court issued a partial stay of the preliminary injunction in Navy SEALS 1-26 only “insofar as it precludes the Navy from considering respondents’ vaccination status in making deployment, assignment, and other operational decisions.” [7]

In contrast, the preliminary injunction in Liberty Counsel’s case, Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin, enjoins the Department of Defense (DOD) and the respective military branches “(1) from enforcing against Navy Commander and Lieutenant Colonel 2 any order or regulation requiring COVID-19 vaccination and (2) from any adverse or retaliatory action against Navy Commander and Lieutenant Colonel 2 as a result of, arising from, or in conjunction with Navy Commander’s or Lieutenant Colonel 2’s requesting a religious exemption, appealing the denial of a request for a religious exemption, requesting reconsideration of the denial of a religious exemption, or pursuing this action or any other action for relief under RFRA or the First Amendment.” [7]

As Judge Merryday noted, “[t]he operative language of the preliminary injunction is direct and specific,” and “narrowly and specifically protects Navy Commander and Lieutenant Colonel 2 (1) from enforcement of an order to either accept vaccination or undergo discipline, including possible separation from service, and (2) from any adverse action that is retaliatory.” Indeed, “[a]ny interpretation to the contrary is wrong.” The defendants “remain at liberty to issue commands, assignments, orders, and the like in the normal course of business.” The “injunction remains indifferent to that non-retaliatory exercise of command authority.” [7]

This preliminary injunction is more narrow than the Texas preliminary injunction which the Supreme Court considered, as it limits defendants from enforcement of an order to either accept vaccination or undergo discipline (which was not challenged before the Supreme Court or in Liberty Counsel’s case before the Court of Appeals), and from taking retaliatory action on the basis of a RFRA claim. [7]

 

Significance

This is an important case that challenges the Rights of the Individual over the Power of the State

 

Plaintiff’s Argument

The plaintiffs all hold sincere religious beliefs against the COVID shots on the basis that their body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and to defile it is a sin against God. In addition, the plaintiffs do not want to participate directly or indirectly or otherwise be associated with the destruction of human life through abortion by injecting a product that contains or was tested or developed with aborted fetal cell lines. The plaintiffs have all submitted religious exemption requests from a COVID-19 injection which have been unlawfully denied. [8]

The COVID shots cannot be mandatory under the federal Emergency Use Authorization law, and the plaintiffs’ free exercise of religion is protected by the First Amendment. In addition, their free exercise of religion is protected under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). Regarding RFRA, the Supreme Court wrote,[8]

“That statute prohibits the federal government from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion unless it demonstrates that doing so both furthers a compelling governmental interest and represents the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Because RFRA operates as a kind of super statute, displacing the normal operation of other federal laws, it might supersede Title VII’s commands in appropriate cases” (emphasis added).  [8]

 

Defendant’s Argument

…More information is needed…

 

The Proceedings

(see here for a detailed accounting of the proceedings)

Over the course of several months, the presiding Federal Judge Steven Merryday granted several stays to get vaccinated to the service members. The Judge was also sympathetic to the arguments of the plaintiffs and critical of the DoD’s reasoning. The judge also granted anonymity to 2 plaintiffs [4]

While setting a hearing for February 10, Judge Merryday stated he searches in vain for any justification for the military’s refusal to grant accommodations. He says the DOD is “most unlikely” to meet its burden, and forecasts that he will rule against the government. Judge Merryday wrote, in part: [5]

“The record in this action establishes that the two service members are very likely to prevail on their claim that their respective branch of the military has wrongfully denied a religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccination. The record creates a strong inference that the services are discriminatorily and systematically denying religious exemptions without a meaningful and fair hearing and without the showing required under RFRA (while simultaneously granting medical exemptions and permitting unvaccinated persons to continue in service without adverse consequence). One struggles to imagine a wholesome and lawful explanation for the results evidenced in this record. The military is well aware of the frailty of their arguments in defense of their practices. Those arguments both procedural and substantive, are rejected in an action that is distinctively parallel to this action. U.S. Navy Seals 1–26, et al v. Biden, 4:21-cv-1236-O, Doc. 66, 2022 WL 34443 (N.D. Tex. Jan. 3, 2022) (characterizing the military’s review of requests for a religious exemption as “theater” and granting relief to the service member plaintiffs). Rejection on the same or a more encompassing basis is likely in this action (especially if the conduct of the military continues along the present lines).” 

Judge Merryday’s order continues: [5]

“The two moving service members face either (1) a most-likely-unlawful deprivation of their accumulated status and standing in the United States military, as well as prospective advancement and benefits, or (2) deprivation of their constitutional and statutory rights to Free Exercise and the statutory right to receive a religious exemption unless the military can meet the statutory burden of proof, which the military has not and likely cannot. On the other hand, the military faces a trivial, if any, prospect of material injury as a result of permitting the service members continued service under the same terms and conditions and with the same privileges and emoluments as currently prevail, especially because the military permits a large group of unvaccinated persons to serve without adverse consequence…Finally, the military is most likely unable to establish, and certainly has not established, that permitting the relatively small number of RFRA objectors, even if every request for exemption (much less the two at issue in this motion) were sincere and successful, to serve without adverse consequences to their standing and the terms and conditions of their service will adversely affect the public’s interest in the maintenance and readiness of the nation’s military forces. In fact, the public undoubtedly has some considerable interest in maintaining the services of skilled, experienced, highly trained, patriotic, courageous, and esteemed service members, such as the two moving service members, in whom the public has an immense financial investment and who are not, to say the least, readily replaceable.” [5]

 

Judge Merryday pressed the Department of Justice counsel about the fact that the military is not showing that removing service members is the least restrictive means available. Judge Merryday also noted that he has to weigh the adverse impact of removing a highly qualified and skilled service member who is not easily replaceable against the minimal, if any, benefit of a “vaccine” in view of the fact that it is not preventing the transmission of Omicron. He pointed out that the military is now at its highest rate of vaccinated service members and also at the highest rate of COVID cases. With the shot not preventing transmission, “why,” he asked, “cannot a small number of service members remain unvaccinated because of their religious beliefs?” [9]

 

Judge Merryday previously ordered each branch of the military to file a detailed report regarding religious exemptions from the COVID-19 shot every 14 days beginning Friday, January 7, 2022. The documents prove that the military continues to deny religious exemptions while granting medical exemptions. According to the court, after three filings, [10]

“the Navy has denied 81 appeals and granted none, the Marine Corps has denied 119 appeals and granted 3, and the Air Force has denied 443 appeals and granted 1 appeal (and granted 8 initial requests). According to the notice, neither the Army nor the Coast Guard has resolved an appeal.” [10]

 
Witnesses & Experts

On March 10,2022 the court heard several witnesses.

Liberty Counsel presented compelling testimony from the Navy Commander and three military flight surgeons, Lt. Col. Peter Chambers, Lt. Col. Teresa Long and Col. (Ret.) Stewart Tankersley. [3] one of whom was injured by the COVID shots. [3]

In contrast, the Department of Defense (DOD) declined to present witnesses. The Department of Defense counsel refused to produce the Commodore of the Navy to be subjected to cross-examination. [3]

Dr. Long testified in federal court that she was ordered by high-level command not to discuss the controversy over Department of Defense data indicating a massive spike in serious injuries and illnesses among military personnel when the vaccines were rolled out in 2021. [2]

“I have so many soldiers being destroyed by this vaccine. Not a single member of my senior command has discussed my concerns with me,” she said amid tears. “I have nothing to gain and everything to lose by talking about it,”

She added that she is willing to lose her career “because I am watching people get absolutely destroyed.”

She said she regularly has been contacted by military personnel who have been injured by the shots, and most are pilots, who “have to meet one of the highest fitness standards.”

Amid the pressure to get vaccinated, Long described an atmosphere of low morale in which there have been at least two suicides.


The flight surgeon Chambers testified that he was ordered to make sure troops received the shots and was told that religious exemptions would be denied. He said that up to 80% of military personnel have contracted COVID-19 despite having had two shots. However, he said, among the unvaccinated, the infection rate was 15%. Chambers said he has had to delay his plan to retire in 2023 because he developed demyelination of his central nervous system after being vaccinated. [2]

Tankersley, a recently retired flight surgeon, said he has witnessed during the pandemic an unprecedented “suppression of scientific dialogue.” He said the shots are neither safe nor effective, explaining the delivery mechanism of the mRNA vaccines bypasses the natural immune system and creates inflammation that can inhibit the body’s innate immunity. Tankersly said he has treated more than 200 COVID patients with no fatalities using treatments such as ivermectin. Meanwhile, the Defense Department insists that the only way to combat COVID is to force vaccination and get rid of personnel who won’t comply. [2]

 

Relevant Prior Judgements/ Cases

On September 9, 2021, Joe Biden signed an executive order attempting to force COVID shots on more Americans, including federal employees, all private employers with 100 or more employees, health care workers, educators and even children. [11]

The courts recognize the constitutional protections against these lawless mandates and are striking them down one by one. For example, here’s the various courts’ recent actions: [11]

  • 11-30-21 – Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove (KY) grants preliminary injunction against mandate for federal contractors in KY, OH, TN.
  • 12-7-21 – Judge Stan Baker (GA) grants nationwide injunction against mandate for federal contractors in GA, AL, ID, KS, SC, UT, WV.
  • 12-15-21 Judge Dee Drell grants preliminary injunction regarding contracts and grants with the states of IN, LA, MS.
  • 12-20-21 – Judge David Noce (MO) grants preliminary injunction against mandate for federal contractors in AK, AR, IA, MO, MT, NE, NH, ND, SD, WY.
  • 12-22-21 – Judge Steven Merryday (FL) grants preliminary injunction against mandate for federal contractors in FL.
  • 12-31-21 – Judge James Wesley Hendrix (TX) issues preliminary injunction against Head Start shot mandate in TX.
  • 1-1-22 – Judge Terry A. Doughty (LA) grants preliminary injunction against Head Start mandate in AL, AK, AZ, AR, FL, GA, LA, IN, IA, KS, KY, MS, MO, MT, NE, ND, OH, OK, SC, SD, TN, UT, WV, WY.
  • 1-13-22 – The U.S. Supreme Court (6-3) issues a stay against OSHA mandates. OSHA has now repealed the mandate.
  • 1-21-22 – Judge Jeffrey Brown (TX) grants preliminary injunction against mandate for federal workers nationwide.

 

Decision

 

Media


US Navy Doctor Whistleblower on Vaccine Deaths -Apr 13, 2022

source: odysee\shortXXvids


US Navy Dr Long Testifies to Sen Johnson’s Panel on Vaccine Injuries

source: nicorster


Camp Pendleton Marine joins legal fight for vaccine exemptions

source: ABC 10 News


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Djokovic Visa Case

Djokovic Visa Case

Djokovic Visa Case

Re: the Legality of denying entry into Australia without vaccination

 

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Facts of the Case

  • Dates: Jan 9 & 16, 2022 [3]
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia [3]
  • Court: Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia [3]
  • Case #:
  • Plaintiff: Novak Djokovic
  • Defendant: Australian Government
  • Trial Type:
  • Judge:
  • Status: Decided
  • Verdict #1: for the Plaintiff
  • Verdict #2: for the Defendant


 

Background

Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic said in a legal challenge on Saturday to being refused entry to Australia that he had been given medical exemption from vaccination against COVID-19 because he had contracted the illness last month. [1]

In a court filing ahead of a hearing on Monday over his visa cancellation Djokovic said he had received the exemption from tournament organizer Tennis Australia, with a follow-up letter from the Department of Home Affairs saying he was allowed into the country. [1]

Federal officials have deemed that exemption insufficient for the 34-year-old to be allowed into the country, and initially moved to cancel his visa in the hours after his arrival. [11] Authorities promptly assessed Djokovic and rejected him for entry upon arrival. His visa was canceled on the spot and he was taken into temporary immigration detention on grounds he failed to provide evidence he was double-vaccinated or had a legitimate exemption to the policy. [12]

The Serbian player, hoping to win his 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open later this month, is on his third day in immigration detention in Melbourne – a case that has caused a sporting, political and diplomatic furor. [1]

“I explained that I had been recently infected with COVID in December 2021 and on this basis I was entitled to a medical exemption in accordance with Australian Government rules and guidance,” Djokovic said in the filing and told Australian Border Force officers that “I had correctly made my Australian Travel Declaration and otherwise satisfied all necessary requirements in order to lawfully enter Australia on my visa”. [1]

Djokovic had his first positive COVID-19 test on Dec. 16 but by Dec. 30 “had not had a fever or respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 72 hours”, the filing said. [1]

On Jan. 1, it said, he received a document from Home Affairs telling him his responses indicated that he met “the requirements for a quarantine-free arrival into Australia”. [1]

The federal court has ordered Home Affairs to file its response by Sunday. The Australian Open starts on Jan. 17. [1]

  •  

At the heart of the dispute is Djokovic’s refusal to be vaccinated against COVID. Under current Australian law, all international arrivals are required to be vaccinated against COVID unless they have a medical exemption. [12] The tennis star said in the past that he opposed vaccination and “wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel.” [5]

 

Detainment

Djokovic’s court filing confirmed a media report that he had asked to be moved to lodgings with access to a tennis court but that his request was denied. The Park Hotel, where he is staying, is also home to dozens of asylum seekers trying to enter the country. [1]

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the player had been provided with gluten-free food, tools to exercise and a sim card. [1]

“He’s staying in Park Hotel until the final decision is made,” Brnabic told Serbian media. “We’ve managed to make sure gluten-free food is delivered to him, as well as exercising tools, a laptop and a sim card so that he is able to be in contact with his family.” [1]

“It’s a positive tone from the Australian side. The Serbian government is ready to provide all the guarantees necessary for Novak to be allowed to enter Australia, the Serbian president (Aleksandar Vucic) is also involved,” Brnabic said. read more [1]

The player’s family has been vocal in its support in recent days and his father, Srdjan Djokovic, said on Saturday he was “disgusted” at his son’s treatment in Australia. Djokovic’s parents joined a protest rally in downtown Belgrade. [3]

Djokovic’s mother, Dijana Djokovic said that the conditions in the hotel in Melbourne where Djokovic is staying are “not humane.” [3]

“He doesn’t even have breakfast,” she said. “He has a wall to stare at and he can’t even see a park in front or go out of the room.” [3]

 

Government Response

The federal and Victorian state governments and Tennis Australia have denied responsibility for the dispute. [1]

If he fails to have his visa cancellation overturned and gets deported, Djokovic could be barred from the country for up to three years. [3]

In an emailed response to The Associated Press about what could transpire if Djokovic loses his legal fight, the Australian Border Force said: “A person whose visa has been canceled may be subject to a three-year exclusion period that prevents the grant of a further temporary visa…The exclusion period will be considered as part of any new visa application and can be waived in certain circumstances, noting each case is assessed on its own merits.” [3]

Morrison had come out firmly in support of the Australian border authorities and their initial decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa. [4]

“Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted at the time. [5]

 

Other Players

Djokovic was one of two players put into detention in a hotel in Melbourne that also houses refugees and asylum seekers. A third person, reported to be an official, left the country voluntarily after border force investigations. [3]

Meanwhile Czech player Renata Voracova, who was detained in the same detention hotel as Djokovic and had her visa revoked after issues with her exemption, [1] had already been in Australia for a week before an investigation by the border officials. She told media from the Czech Republic she’d been confined to a room and there was a guard in the corridor. [3] She left the country on Saturday, the Czech Foreign Ministry said. [1]

 

Significance

The drama has caused tensions between Serbia and Australia and has also become a flashpoint for opponents of vaccine mandates around the world. [1]

The tennis icon’s case has transcended sport to become an international row, with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic accusing Australia and its prime minister, Scott Morrison, of conducting a “political with hunt” against Djokovic. [4]

  •  

According to the the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) : [10] The argument of the Federal Government in the Novak Djokovic case sets a dangerous precedent in a democratic society.

“Our key concern was not whether Mr Djokovic was able to play tennis this week. Our concern is the Federal Government’s view that it did not have to prove that Mr Djokovic would foster views about vaccination that are contrary to the government, but simply that he may foster those sentiments,” said Mr Greg Barns SC, spokesperson for the ALA.

“This is a very low bar for excluding a person from Australia ….

“Using the criteria of a possible risk to public order as a reason to refuse a person entry into the country is troubling in a society supposedly committed to freedom of speech and freedom of thought.

 

Plaintiff’s Argument

Novak Djokovic said to being refused entry to Australia that he had been given medical exemption from vaccination against COVID-19 because he had contracted the illness last month. [1]

The virtual hearing began Monday in Melbourne, with Djokovic appealing his visa cancellation amid a growing public debate over his positive coronavirus test that his lawyers used as grounds in applying for a medical exemption to Australia’s strict vaccination rules. [2]

Djokovic’s lawyers filed court papers Saturday in his challenge against deportation from Australia that show the tennis star tested positive for COVID-19 last month and recovered, grounds he used in applying for a medical exemption to the country’s strict vaccination rules. [3]

The court submission Saturday said Djokovic received confirmation from Australia’s Department of Home Affairs saying that his travel declaration had been assessed and that his responses indicated he met the requirements for quarantine-free arrival in Australia. [3]

 

Defendant’s Argument

Tennis Australia and the government of Victoria state, where the Australian Open is played, are blaming confusion over the precise definitions regarding grounds for medical exemptions. [3]

The Victoria state government mandated that all players, staff, fans and officials must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the tournament.

The state, which approved the medical exemptions for Djokovic, said those exemptions for were for access to Melbourne Park, not the border.

Australian Open organizers have not commented publicly, except to tell Australian newspapers that no players have been misled over the vaccination requirements.

 

Relevant Prior Judgements/ Cases

…More information is needed…

 

Decision #1

The Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne had ordered that Djokovic be released after stating that the Australian authorities had behaved “unreasonably” in canceling the world number one’s visa upon his arrival in the country last week. [4]

 

Aftermath #1

Despite being backed by Judge Anthony Kelly, who ordered his release, Djokovic was warned by government barrister Christopher Tan that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke could yet exercise his personal power to cancel Djokovic’s visa once again and deport him. [4]

However, it later emerged that no decision had been taken by Hawke and that “the minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing,” according to a spokesperson. [4]

Just four days after a federal judge ordered Djokovic released from hotel detention when his visa was revoked the first time, the minister’s decision moved to cancel the 34-year-old player’s visa citing “health and good order” grounds — just three days before the Australian Open begins [12]

  •  

Robert Kennedy Jr (a staunch advocate against Covid measures) defended Novak’s appeal for a medical exemption from vaccination is “squarely based in long-standing evidence” around the superior protection offered by natural immunity compared to vaccination. Kennedy added: [12]

“The science hasn’t changed over the last five days. Why the waffling around his visa status? Morrison’s attempt to frame the Australian citizens as the victims of Djokovic’s private health decision is a naked exercise in tyrannical political power. The ‘sacrifices’ of the Australian people Morrison refers to aren’t sacrifices at all. They are injuries borne of his nonsensical policies, and Djokovic is bringing international attention to them.”

 

Decision #2

Australian Minister for Immigration Hawke, successfully overturned the initial decision to cancel his visa on procedural grounds and re-imposed the penalty, citing the potential for Djokovic’s presence in the country to foster anti-vaccination sentiment. [9]

Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel the top seed and reigning champion’s visa for a second time was upheld by a court a day before the tournament started, leaving frustrated Djokovic to take a flight to Dubai rather than defend his title [6]

Announcing the decision, Hawke said the step was taken “in the public interest” while citing “health grounds.” [11]

 

Aftermath #2

By being deported from Melbourne, Djokovic was denied the chance to win a record 21st Grand Slam title overall, which would have moved him one ahead of great rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. [7]

Morrison has backed the actions of Hawke. “Our strong border protection policies have kept Australians safe, prior to Covid and now during the pandemic.”  [11]

  •  

The tennis icon, who has already received emphatic backing from the likes of Serbian president Aleksander Vucic and even Serbian royalty, will have a message of support displayed prominently on the Belgrade Tower in the Serbian capital on Sunday evening. [8]

“Nole, you are the pride of Serbia,”

the message, which will be displayed between 8pm and 9pm local time, will read, before being replaced by the Serbian tricolor. [8]

Angry Vucic, who has described the attempts by Australian immigration authorities to revoke his visa as a “witch hunt“, castigated officials for their treatment of Djokovic. [8]

“[Against] Novak, they wanted to show how the world order works and how they can [act] against everyone. With [this decision], they humiliated not Novak, but themselves,” he said in reaction to the verdict. [8]

“I spoke to Djokovic and told him we cannot wait to see him,” he added. “I told him he is always welcome in Serbia.” [8]

  •  

Djokovic could find himself sidelined for another Grand Slam with new Covid rules set to be introduced in France. after the French National Assembly approved the introduction of a controversial new vaccine pass which will exclude anyone who is not fully jabbed from restaurants, sports arenas and other venues. [7]

The legislation is set to come into force in the coming days, and was backed by Sports Minister Maracineanu. [7]

The vaccination pass has been adopted. As soon as the law is promulgated, it will become mandatory to enter public buildings already subject to the health pass (stadium, theater or lounge) for all spectators, practitioners, French or foreign professionals,” she tweeted. [7]

Elsewhere, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed earlier this month to do everything he could to “piss off” the unvaccinated population. 

 


Further Research

Court Documents:
In the news:

 

Media

Djokovic Supporters

source: Djoker Nole

Morrison cancels Djokovic

source: Alex Christoforou

World Council for Health Supports Djokovic

Source: World Council for Health

 

References

  1. Djokovic argues he had Australia green light because of recent COVID infection
  2. Watch Novak Djokovic’s visa deportation hearing live from Australia
  3. Novak Djokovic had COVID-19 last month, lawyers argue in vaccine dispute
  4. Australian immigration minister issues Djokovic statement
  5. WATCH: Police pepper-spray protesters demanding to ‘Free Nole’
  6. Djokovic culpable for ‘mess’ – Nadal
  7. Djokovic facing fresh Grand Slam blow
  8. Djokovic ‘must pay huge sum to Australia’ – report
  9. Novak Djokovic news: French Open title defence under threat for world No 1
  10. Djokovic case sets dangerous precedent
  11. Djokovic visa cancelation ‘protects sacrifices of Australians,’ claims PM
  12. Australia Revokes Djokovic’s Visa Again, Refuses to Acknowledge Natural Immunity

 

Keyword

Australia, Australian Border Force, Border, Brnabic, Cancellation, Detention, Djokovic, Entry, Exemption, Home Affairs, Immigration, Macron, Maracineanu, medical, Melbourne, Novak, Prime Minister, Refuse, Renata, Serbia, Sports Minister, Tennis, Visa, Voracova, Vucic, Tennis, Australia, Immigration, Detention, Melbourne, Visa, Cancellation, Entry, Medical, Exemption, Refuse, Serbia, Australian Border Force, Border, Home Affairs, Renata, Voracova, Brnabic, Prime Minister, Vucic, Macron, Sports Minister, Maracineanu


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Navy Vaccine Exemption Case

Navy Vaccine Exemption Case

Navy Vaccine Exemption Case

Re: the Legality of Mandating Vaccines onto the Military without their Consent & against their Religious Objections

 

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Facts of the Case

aka: U.S. Navy SEALs 1-26 v. Biden

  • Dates: Jan 3, 2022
  • Location: Texas, USA
  • Court: US District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • Case #: Civil Action # 4:21-cv-01236-O
  • Plaintiff: US Navy Seals, et al
  • Plaintiffs Lawyers: First Liberty Institute
  • Defendant: Biden Administration, DOD
  • Trial Type:
  • Judge: Reed O’Connor
  • Status: Decided
  • Verdict: For the Plaintiff


Background

In response to the Biden Administration’s push to mandate that all military personnel get the covid vaccine, 35 navy seals filed a law suit against the Vaccine Mandate citing religious exemption.

This case arises from the United States Navy’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. Plaintiffs are thirty-five Navy Special Warfare servicemembers, including SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewmen, Navy Divers, and an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician. Compl. 1, 8–9, ECF No. 1. Together, they sue President Biden, Secretary of Defense Austin, Secretary of the Navy Del Toro, and the United States Department of Defense. [2]

In August 2021, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) issued a vaccine mandate directing all DoD service members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.Pls.’ App. 146–47, ECF No. 17. The Department of the Navy also implemented its own mandate requiring all active-duty Navy service members to be fully vaccinated before November 28 or face the “full range” of disciplinary action. Pls.’ App. 149–50, ECF No. 17.For service members assigned to Special Operations duty, the Navy’s vaccination policy reads: [2]

[Special Operations] personnel refusing to receive recommended vaccines… based solely on personal or religious beliefs are disqualified. This provision does not pertain to medical contraindications or allergies to vaccine administration.

By early November, 99.4% of active-duty Navy service members had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Pls.’ App. 284, ECF No. 17. Plaintiffs are part of the remaining 0.6%. Representing the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant branches of Christianity, Plaintiffs object to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine based on their religious beliefs. [2]

While it allowed service members to apply for religious exemptions to the mandate, it has not granted a single one. In fact, as of Dec. 17, the religious accommodation requests of at least 29 of the 35 naval plaintiffs had been flatly denied. [1]

The service members who filed the lawsuit represent more than 350 collective years of military service, and more than 100 combat deployments. When they inquired about seeking religious accommodation for the vaccine, the Navy informed many of them that they could face court-martial or involuntary separation if they refused to take the vaccine. [1]

One year ago, Biden told Fox News that COVID vaccines should not be mandatory, telling White House correspondent Peter Doocy at the time that he “wouldn’t demand it to be mandatory.” [3]

“I would do everything in my power, just like I don’t think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide.” [3]

 

Significance

This case asks the question if a soldier has individual rights and if the DoD actively violates those.

 

Plaintiff’s Argument

Berry told (Fox News) host Martha MacCallum that every one of the plaintiffs in the case has a unique individual religious belief, as well as the right to hold and exercise that belief — no matter Biden’s or the Pentagon’s view. [3]

“Many of them object to the fact that the vaccine was tested or developed or produced using aborted fetal cells. Others prayed to God [and said] ‘God, what do you want me to do? And God said no.’”

“It would violate their conscience and religious convictions to get the vaccine. Under the law, that is absolutely protected in this country.”

 

Defendant’s Argument

…More information is needed…

 

Relevant Prior Judgements/ Cases

…More information is needed…

 

Decision

Heritage.com explains: [1]

In his order, (Judge) O’Connor granted an injunction against the Biden administration and the Department of Defense, preventing them from enforcing the vaccine mandate against any of the named service members who had applied for a religious exemption.

O’Connor ruled that the blanket denial of their religious waiver requests amounted to a violation of the service members’ rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Under that law, the government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that burden is (1) in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.

For O’Connor, the violation of the law was clear:

Defendants have substantially burdened Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs. The government burdens religion when it ‘put[s] substantial pressure on an adherent to modify his behavior and to violate his beliefs.’

That is especially true when the government imposes a choice between one’s job and one’s religious belief. Here, Plaintiffs must decide whether to lose their livelihoods or violate sincerely held religious beliefs.

Because they will not compromise these religious beliefs, Plaintiffs have been threatened with separation from the military and other disciplinary action.

According to the First Liberty Institute, the public interest law firm representing the service members, each of the denials appeared to be identical, suggesting the Navy had not taken any of the religious exemption requests seriously.

O’Connor made note of this in his order, calling the process for seeking a religious exemption nothing more than “theater,” stating that the Navy “merely rubber-stamps each denial,” and stressing that “the record overwhelmingly demonstrates that the Navy’s religious-accommodation process is an exercise in futility.”

“The Navy service members in this case seek to vindicate the very freedoms they have sacrificed so much to protect,” O’Connor wrote, adding:

The COVID-19 pandemic provides the government no license to abrogate those freedoms.

There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment.

There is no military exclusion from our Constitution.

The Judgement ends: [2]

This Court does not make light of COVID-19’s impact on the military. Collectively, our armed forces have lost 80 lives to COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic. Defs.’ App. 263,ECF No. 44-3.  But the question before the Court is not whether a public interest exists. Rather, this Court must address whether an injunction will disserve the public interest. An injunction does not disserve the public interest when it prevents constitutional deprivations. Jackson Women’s Health, 760 F.3d at458 n.9.

The Plaintiffs’ loss of religious liberties outweighs any forthcoming harm to the Navy. Even the direst circumstances cannot justify the loss of constitutional rights. Fortunately, the future does not look so dire. Nearly 100% of the Navy has been vaccinated. Hospitalizations are rising at a much slower rate than COVID-19cases. COVID-19treatments are becoming more effective and widely available

The Judge also quoted George Washington, referring to the rights of soldiers as separate from the state:

When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.” (1775).

Those words are carved into the marble of the Memorial Amphitheater in the Arlington National Cemetery.

 

Aftermath

Mike Berry, general counsel for First Liberty Institute, said:

Forcing a service member to choose between their faith and serving their country is abhorrent to the Constitution and America’s values … . Punishing SEALs for simply asking for a religious accommodation is purely vindictive and punitive. 

We’re pleased that the court has acted to protect our brave warriors before more damage is done to our national security.

The next stop in the litigation is likely to be an appeal by the Department of Defense and the Biden administration to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

  • Other federal court challenges to various COVID-19 vaccine mandates are ongoing.
  • On Jan. 7, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a set of high-profile, consolidated cases on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates for private-sector entities with 100 or more employees, and for health care facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funding.
  • The Heritage Foundation, a petitioner in the case challenging the private-sector vaccine mandate, has asked the court to invalidate the government’s order. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)


Further Research

Court Documents:
In the news:

 

Media

Pilots sue Biden Vaccine Mandate

source: Real America’s Voice

Covid vaccine deadline today for U.S. military

source: CNBC Television

Navy’s Vaccine Mandate

Source: KRIS 6 News

 

References

  1. Court Delivers Win to Military Members Denied Religious Exemptions From Pentagon Vaccine Mandate
  2. Court Ruling
  3. Biden showing ‘religious hostility’ toward SEALs at center of vax mandate suit

 

Keyword

Administration, Biden, Constitution, Department of Defense, District Court for the Northern District of Texas, DOD, Exemption, First Amendment, First Liberty Institute, Military, Naval Special Warfare personnel, Navy, O’Connor, Religious, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Seals,


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