Students ask Supreme Court to block college vaccine mandate

Aug 6, 2021, 12:36 PM | Updated: 1:21 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is being asked to block a plan by Indiana University to require students and employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s the first time the high court has been asked to weigh in on a vaccine mandate and comes as some corporations, states and cities are also contemplating or have adopted vaccine requirements for workers or even to dine indoors.

The case is not the first time a coronavirus-related issue has been before the court. In rulings over the past year the conservative-dominated high court has largely backed religious groups who have challenged restrictions on indoor services during the cononavirus pandemic.

In the current case, however, a three-judge federal appeals court panel, including two judges appointed by former President Donald Trump, was one of two lower courts to side with Indiana University and allow it to require the vaccinations. The plan announced in May requires roughly 90,000 students and 40,000 employees on seven campuses to receive COVID-19 vaccinations for the fall semester.

Students who don’t comply will have their registration canceled and workers who don’t will lose their jobs. The policy does have religious and medical exemptions, but exempt students must be tested twice a week for the disease. The school announced this week that for now, everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask indoors while on campus.

The vaccine mandate is being challenged by eight students who argue in court papers filed Friday that they have “a constitutional right to bodily integrity, autonomy, and of medical treatment choice in the context of a vaccination mandate.” They’re asking for an injunction from the high court barring the university from enforcing the mandate. Seven of the students qualify for a religious exemption.

There is no deadline for the court to act, but the students are asking it to do so by Aug. 13.

In July, an Indiana district court judge sided with the university in declining to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the vaccine mandate. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit voted 3-0 to uphold the decision earlier this week. Two of the three judges were appointed by Trump and the third by former President Ronald Reagan.

The university initially was going to require students and employees to provide immunization documentation but after a backlash changed its policy to make providing proof optional. Students and employees now must simply attest to their vaccination in an online form.

College officials across the country have struggled with whether to require vaccinations, with some schools mandating them and others questioning whether they have legal authority to do so. Similar lawsuits against student vaccine requirements have been filed in other states.

Over the past two weeks, vaccine mandates have become a particularly hot issue. On Friday, United Airlines announced it would become the first major U.S. airline to require vaccination for workers. Google, Facebook, Tyson Foods and Microsoft are among the other companies mandating vaccines.

Late last month, the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to require vaccinations for its health workers. President Joe Biden has since announced that federal workers will be required to sign forms attesting they’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus or else comply with new rules on mandatory masking, weekly testing, distancing and more.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Prototype electric airplane takes first flight

MOSES LAKE, Wash. (AP) — A prototype, all-electric airplane took its first flight Tuesday morning in central Washington state. The Seattle Times reports that if the Federal Aviation Administration eventually certifies the small airplane to carry passengers, it could become the first all-electric commercial airplane. The plane, built by startup Eviation, was built to carry […]
12 hours ago
FILE - This undated photo provided by the Oklahoma State Dept. of Corrections shows Benjamin Robert...
Associated Press

Oklahoma panel rejects clemency for man in baby’s killing

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 Tuesday to deny clemency for a man sentenced to die for killing his 9-month-old daughter in 2002, moving him a step closer to his scheduled lethal injection next month. Attorneys for Benjamin Cole, 57, did not dispute that Cole killed Brianna Cole by forcibly […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Maine man convicted of 11 charges stemming from Capitol riot

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Maine man who joined rioters at the U.S. Capitol was convicted Tuesday of 11 charges including assaulting, resisting or impeding police officers. Kyle Fitzsimons, 39, of Lebanon, charged to the front line on Jan. 6, 2021, and assaulted officers including three from the Metropolitan and Capitol Police Departments who testified against […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Former student convicted of spying for Chinese government

CHICAGO (AP) — A former graduate student has been convicted of spying for the Chinese government by gathering information on scientists and engineers in the U.S. who had knowledge about aerospace technology and other technology. A federal jury in Chicago convicted Ji Chaoqun, 31, on Monday of conspiracy to act as an agent of China’s […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Germany to keep 2 of its 3 nuclear plants running into April

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s government plans to keep two of the country’s three remaining nuclear power plants running until mid-April to help prevent a potential winter energy shortage, the economy and energy minister said Tuesday. The announcement by Economy and Energy Minister Robert Habeck means the government has officially, albeit temporarily, reversed Germany’s long-held plan […]
12 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Students ask Supreme Court to block college vaccine mandate