'Indefensible': Courts finally scrutinize COVID vaccine mandates as religious infringement

Three years after COVID-19 vaccines became widely available to adults – at which point the CDC already knew they couldn't stop transmission – courts are finally starting to put their foot down on the most basic legal question: Are mandates at least applied fairly, if not scientifically?

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals not only knocked down the University of Colorado medical school's original and revised 2021 mandates for discriminating against employees seeking religious exemptions, but knocked the trial judge for "abuse of discretion" by reversing the burden of proof to moot the case.

The Anschutz campus, whose dental school recently created a diversity, equity and inclusion award, made an early pivotal decision on COVID vaccine mandates by scrutinizing the content as well as sincerity of beliefs among employees and students seeking exemptions.

"The Administration’s September 1 Policy is not neutral on its face; the September 24 Policy is not neutral in practice; and both substantially burden" the religious exercise of the anonymous 11 female and six male plaintiffs, according to the majority opinion by Judge Allison Eid, who replaced Neil Gorsuch when President Trump appointed him to the Supreme Court.

Vaccine by Mat Napo is licensed under Unsplash
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