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    Vaccine Litigation Lingers After Lifting of Military Mandate

    Vaccine Litigation Lingers After Lifting of Military Mandate

    ORLEANS — Lawyers for a group of Navy SEALS and other Navy personnel who oppose a -19 vaccination requirement on religious grounds want a federal appeals court to keep alive their legal fight against the Biden administration, even though the requirement has been lifted.

    Congress voted to end the requirement in December. However, vaccine opponents note that commanders can still make decisions on how and whether to deploy unvaccinated troops, under a memo signed last month by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

    In a case to be argued Monday afternoon at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, government lawyers say the issue is moot. They want the appeals court to lift injunctions blocking the vaccine requirements, saying they intend to have the whole case dismissed in a lower court.

    Attorneys for the unvaccinated Navy personnel argue in briefs to the 5th Circuit that Austin's memo and other Defense Department actions show that the Navy still intends to treat unvaccinated personnel “like second-class citizens because of their religious beliefs.”

    Government lawyers argue the policy is in line with “well-established principles of judicial noninterference with core decision making,” in their briefs.

    The Navy SEALS filed their lawsuit in November of 2021, describing what they saw as a cumbersome 50-step process to apply religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine. Their lawyers have…

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