The Alabama Center for Law and Liberty (ACLL) has filed an amicus brief in defense of a group of Navy SEALs facing discipline or discharge over their religious objections to the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The sailors are arguing they should be exempted from vaccination demands based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. They claimed in their brief that the vaccine was "an affront to the Creator" due to the vaccine being developed with aborted fetal cells.
The plaintiffs further claim that the mandate stands in opposition to an individual's religious duty to take care of one's body, which some argue is not consistent with mandated "experimental" vaccines.
In its brief, ACLL represented retired three-star general Jerry Boykin, who argued that the SEALs could be accommodated without compromising military readiness. Boykin, a 36-year Army veteran and one of the founding members of the Army's Delta Force, offered the court his perspective on how special forces operate and why the SEALs should be accommodated instead of being disciplined or discharged.
"Courts are hesitant to take action that could arguably hinder military readiness, even if the law is clear that our servicemembers' religious freedom must be respected," said ACLL President Matt Clark. "But in this case, when a former three-star general and Delta Force commander comes forward and explains how religious liberty can be protected without hurting the special forces, we believe the court will be more likely to stand up for the religious liberty of our Nation's finest warriors. "We are grateful not only for General Boykin's career of service to his country, but also for his willingness to come forward and stand up for his brothers who are still serving,"
In January, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor prevented the Department of Defense (DOD) from removing 0.6% of all Navy service members, including the group of 35 Navy SEALs, who requested a religious accommodation to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
O'Connor ruled that the DOD had violated the sailors' constitutional right to refuse the vaccine based on their religious beliefs.
After the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals did not block O'Connor's ruling, the Biden administration filed an emergency application in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
In March, SCOTUS restored the Navy's right to consider vaccination status when determining the careers of its servicemembers.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a brief in support of the SEALs as well. He was joined by Attorneys General from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
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