- The Washington Times - Monday, January 24, 2022

The Navy is appealing a federal court order in Texas that bars the service from taking action against 35 SEALS who refuse to take a COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a Jan. 3 injunction, ruling that the Navy likely violated the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in pushing vaccines over other alternatives. He accused the service of using a “rubber stamp” to deny requests for religious accommodation for the vaccine.

In the appeal, federal attorneys say the case can’t be heard because the unidentified SEALS have yet to exhaust any potential administrative remedies.

The attorneys also say that the lawsuit — Navy SEALS v. Lloyd Austin III — should be moved from Judge O’Connor’s court because nobody associated with the case lives in the Northern District of Texas.

The Pentagon ordered all military personnel to take a COVID-19 vaccine as a readiness issue.

The mandate has resulted in a number of challenges, including from state governors who say they are the commanders of National Guard troops not called into federal service.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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