For Immediate Release:
August 29, 2022
For press inquiries only, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Attorney General Steve Marshall Supports Religious Liberty of U.S. Navy Personnel Opposing Biden Vaccine Mandate
(MONTGOMERY)—Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit filed by U.S. Navy personnel challenging the Biden administration’s failure to accommodate religious objections to its COVID-19 vaccine mandate on men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Attorney General Marshall and 21 fellow attorneys general filed a brief in U.S. Navy SEALs v. Biden, supporting the plaintiffs—35 Navy service members assigned to Naval Special Warfare Command units—who challenged the legality of the Navy's COVID-19 vaccine policies and asserted their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.
“Perhaps more than any other of President Biden’s vaccine mandates his heavy-handed approach has been most profoundly felt by the U.S. Military,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Just over a year ago, military personal were ordered to begin taking COVID-19 vaccinations and many who asserted religious objections to the vaccine were summarily denied. Records indicate that while more than 4,000 Naval active duty and reserve sailors submitted requests for religious accommodations, all but a few dozen had their requests denied.
“Many thousands in uniform are being denied their constitutional rights by the Biden administration’s blanket refusal to grant their wishes for religious exemption from the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. U.S. military personnel deserve and are indeed entitled to the same first amendment protections of their religious liberties as any other American citizen.”
The U.S. Military vaccine mandate was part of a broader push by the Biden administration to increase national vaccination rates by forcing mass vaccinations of federal contractors, federal employees, healthcare workers, Head Start employees and volunteers, and those employed by private employers with more than 100 workers. In every case but health care workers, the Biden administration’s unlawful vaccine mandates have been blocked in federal court by Attorney General Marshall and his AG colleagues.
Joining Attorney General Marshall in filing the amicus brief before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday are attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The attorneys general amicus can be read here.
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