Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied a request by students to block a vaccine mandate by Indiana University. This ruling has sent a clear signal that vaccine mandates could pass legal scrutiny and will be welcomed by most of the nation. Barrett acted alone and did not refer the matter to the larger court. The case had come to the appeals court which was under her jurisdiction.
Indiana University said that all students were required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the fall, before the semester began. The fall semester begins on August 23. Students were required to wear masks and get tested at weekly intervals if they were unable to get both doses by the required date. Those who had a religious or medical exemption were also required to be tested weekly. Eight students filed a suit in the appeals court saying their constitutional rights were violated by this requirement.
James Bopp, a lawyer for the students told the Supreme Court that the students’ refusal was “based on legitimate concerns.” Earlier a panel of judges on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that vaccination requirements “have been common in this nation.” They reiterated that Indiana University had allowed exemptions based on medical and religious objections.
This is the first case in front of the Supreme Court justices on vaccine mandates. They have been asked about the legality of the vaccine mandate as more and more private and public entities are starting to believe in the efficacy of vaccines and mandating vaccines.
According to CNN, Indiana University spokesperson Chuck Carney said that the third ruling from the nation’s highest court affirmed Indiana University’s COVID-19 plan. Carney also said that the school was looking forward to beginning the semester with their “health and safety policies in place.”
A very high percentage of COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant have been seen among the unvaccinated. Although a few breakthrough cases are seen among the vaccinated these persons generally have mild or no symptoms. They are rarely hospitalized and no deaths among vaccinated cases have been reported, as yet. Vaccinations are helping, yet the skeptics remain.