The Republicans Have Now Publicly Backed The Navy In Their Lawsuit Over Vaccine Mandates

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It was reported earlier today that several Republican lawmakers have filed a “friend of the court” brief in support of a group of U.S. Navy SEALs who have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the service branch and the military in general.“My colleagues and I filed an amicus brief in U.S. Navy Seals v. Biden in support of 26 service members with religious objections to Biden’s vaccine mandate. Religious freedom is fundamental to every American’s liberty,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, noted on Twitter, with a link to a statement posted to his Senate website.

Patriot Fetch added:

About 26 Navy SEALS and several other Naval servicemen have made claims that their First Amendment rights to freedom of religion have been trampled on as their exemptions were denied. They believe that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment, they have a right to decline being vaccinated, especially as they have all signaled that they are willing to undergo the testing requirements in lieu of the jabs. 

In addition to Cruz, Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), along with 38 members of the House of Representatives led by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), signed the amicus brief.

In the brief, the members wrote:

“Plaintiffs’ religious liberty and the government’s asserted interest in protecting our service members from COVID-19 need not be in conflict, especially where, as here, the individuals seeking an exemption are willing to adopt non-vaccination measures to protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19. They are only in conflict here because Defendants refuse to accommodate Plaintiffs’ religious objections even as they accommodate those who will not receive the vaccine for non-religious reasons. This violates RFRA by substantially burdening Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs without a compelling reason, and violates the First Amendment’s guarantee that government not discriminate against religion.”

[…]

“Defendants’ policies mandating that Plaintiffs be vaccinated in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs does not come close to satisfying the strictest scrutiny Congress demands in RFRA. Defendants’ vaccine mandate forces Plaintiffs—individuals who have devoted their lives to the protection of the country—to choose between following their sincerely held religious convictions and effectively being discharged, losing their calling, and destroying their financial well-being.”

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