Federal judge deals blow to Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal employees

Federal employees who sued the Biden administration over its coronavirus vaccine mandate will not be terminated while their religious exemption requests are pending, a Washington, D.C.-based district court judge ruled Thursday.

“None of the civilian employee plaintiffs will be subject to discipline while his or her request for a religious exception is pending,” District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s minute order read, Fox News reported.

Moreover, “active duty military plaintiffs, whose religious exception requests have been denied, will not be disciplined or separated during the pendency of their appeals,” the judge added.

The Biden administration, for its part, has appeared to agree not to discipline plaintiffs while their religious exemption requests are pending. Beyond that, however, things get murkier.

“The Biden administration, which had until noon on Friday to respond, said in a filing that it would not agree to halt the discipline and termination of any employees in the process of seeking a religious exemption to the vaccine pending the court’s ruling on the temporary restraining order (TRO) motion,” Fox News reported.

“It is Plaintiffs’ burden to demonstrate impending irreparable harm…but Plaintiffs offer nothing beyond speculation to suggest that their religious exception requests will be denied and that they will be disciplined at all, much less on the first day that such discipline is theoretically possible,” the administration’s Friday court filing read.

Biden mandated coronavirus vaccines for federal employees in a Sept. 9 executive order.

A lawsuit soon followed.

“The Biden administration has shown an unprecedented, cavalier attitude toward the rule of law and an utter ineptitude at basic constitutional contours,” Michael Yoder, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, told Fox this week.

“This combination is dangerous to American liberty,” he added. “Thankfully, our Constitution protects and secures the right to remain free from religious persecution and coercion.

“With this order, we are one step closer to putting the Biden administration back in its place by limiting government to its enumerated powers. It’s time citizens and courts said no to tyranny. The Constitution does not need to be rewritten, it needs to be reread.”

Writing for The Washington Post, columnist Henry Olsen wrote Friday that Biden’s vaccine mandates might backfire.

“Mass resistance would force a confrontation Biden should not want to have,” Olsen said. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that roughly 80 percent of Americans 18 years or older have received at least one vaccine dose.

“Even if Biden’s mandate cuts the number of unvaccinated people in half, that still would leave millions of workers who care more about their individual freedom than their job. Don’t be surprised if those die-hards become politically organized martyrs,” he added.

Chaos might be the end result, Olsen wrote.

“Biden has a habit of talking big but walking small,” he said. “That might be what happens with the proposed mandates if it becomes clear that millions of people will call Biden’s bluff.

“But if the president instead stands his ground and ratchets up pressure on vaccine holdouts, the chaos that may ensue might just make those popular vaccine mandates a political liability.”