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SC Rejects Students’ Appeal to Block Indiana University Vaccine Mandate

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The US Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by several students to block the vaccine mandate imposed by Indiana University (IU) before in-person classes resume in the fall.

A total of eight students filed a legal complaint against the university in June, saying its vaccine policy violates their constitutional rights to “bodily integrity, autonomy, and medical choice.” They feel that the school “is treating its students as children who cannot be trusted to make mature decisions.”

The challenge was directed to Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who is also the circuit justice for the federal appeals court involved in the case. She firmly declined the appeal, saying there was no legal justification for the request.

Meanwhile, no other justices have so far issued a statement. Business Insider reports that Barrett issued the decision without consulting the other justices on the court.

Federal Judge Sides With Indiana

In the first legal test of COVID-19 vaccination mandates in the country, a federal judge last month sided with IU policy prohibiting unvaccinated students from attending in-person classes.

US District Court Judge Damon R. Leichty expressed that the students will most likely not succeed in their claim that the university lacks a rational basis for its vaccine requirement.

“Recognizing the students’ significant liberty to refuse unwanted medical
treatment, the Fourteenth Amendment permits Indiana University to pursue a
reasonable and due process of vaccination in the legitimate interest of public health for
its students, faculty, and staff,” the federal judge
stated, adding that his decision was based on scientific, medical, empirical, and industry-wide data.

In addition to IU, students in Connecticut and Massachusetts have also filed similar lawsuits against their universities. Their challenges to COVID-19 vaccination requirements are now pending in federal courts.

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