AMERICA, ‘the land of the free’, shocked many of us to the core with its brutal Covid-19 vaccination mandates on private and public sector workplaces. We reported here and here on the impact this had on airline staff and pilots, as well as on the industry.
These mandates, imposed on all armed service personnel as well as on private businesses, largely survived a first wave of legal challenges, even as the number of lawsuits soared. It was not for the want of trying to overturn them. By October 2021 workers and advocacy groups had filed at least 39 federal cases contesting vaccination requirements imposed by employers or governments, according to a Bloomberg Law review. Courts denied the requests for temporary orders against mandates in 12 of the suits, while seven ended with dismissals. Frighteningly, the conclusion reached from this by Lawrence Gostin, director of Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, was that these defeats in the courts ‘demonstrated how durable and well judicially supported vaccine mandates are’.
Thankfully this no longer seems to be so.
The start of the year saw the fightback making headway. ‘I’m not saying the vaccines are unsafe,’ Justice Samuel Alito said in January at the Supreme Court, while making clear they were not without risk. By 6-3, the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration mandate for private companies with more than 100 employees to require weekly Covid-19 tests for employees who were not fully vaccinated. Starbucks was the most high-profile employer which, as a result, dropped its staff vaccine mandate.
Last week came further developments. Fox News reported that the US Marine Corps was ‘rolling back strict punishments for service members‘ who’d sought religious exemptions to the Covid-19 vaccine, and was ending involuntary terminations and delays of promotions for some of those refusing the shot. Not before time.
An ‘interim guidance’ memo signed on September 14 and posted quietly online ‘amends actions’ directed toward unvaccinated Marines whose religious accommodation requests were denied and who appealed against the decision.
Last week saw another big win, this time for the New York City Police fight against the city’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate which cost some their jobs. A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled that the mandate was ‘invalid’ and that sacked officers must be given back their jobs.
There is still a long way to go. The US military are preparing for lawsuits. Joshua Philips reports for Epoch Times on a leaked Pentagon memo that says their vaccine mandates may be violating the law that protects religious liberty. You can watch here on Epoch TV.
Let’s hope this is but the start.