Politics

Federal Judge Blocks Air Force From Booting Service Member Over Vaccine Refusal

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A Georgia federal judge blocked the Air Force from booting a service member who objected to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons.

In a preliminary injunction issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Tilman Self III ordered the Air Force to refrain from taking “any adverse action” against the unnamed Air Force officer on the basis of “this lawsuit or her request for religious accommodation, specifically including forcing her to retire.”

“Given ‘the Nation’s essential commitment to religious freedom[,]’ Plaintiff’s harm—a constitutional injury involving her right to freely exercise her religion—is not a mere trivial grievance,” Self wrote in a blistering rebuke of the mandate.

“And, what real interest can our military leaders have in furthering a requirement that violates the very document they swore to support and defend?” the judge continued. “The Court is unquestionably confident that the Air Force will remain healthy enough to carry out its critical national defense mission even if Plaintiff remains unvaccinated and is not forced to retire.”

Ann Stefanek, a spokesperson for the Air Force, told The Hill that the service is “aware of the preliminary injunction and will abide by the Court’s Order until the matter is legally resolved. The Air Force has no other comments about this ongoing litigation.”

The case was filed in January by the Thomas Moore Society on behalf of the service … (Read more)

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