Supreme Court won’t hear case of Air Force lieutenant colonel who refused vaccine

The Supreme Court of the United States has decided not to get involved in a case brought by a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve who declined a COVID-19 vaccination on religious grounds. 

According to The Washington Examiner, the judges refused to take the case in an unsigned ruling, which is not uncommon with emergency requests. However, the three judges thought to be the most conservative on the bench, dissented to the decision, without offering an explanation, per the court records

Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch all voted to hear the case, however, the other six created a majority and Lt. Col. Jonathan Dunn will be forced to live with a lower court’s ruling which removed him from his command after almost two decades of service as a trainer and commander.

Dunn was looking for “protection against further punishment, including a discharge,” due to his decision to abstain from the vaccine on religious grounds. 

The decision was made to remove him from office after the Air Force had determined “that vaccination of service members is an essential component of military readiness and is critical to protecting the health and safety of service members,” according to the Justice Department’s Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.

This case was declined shortly after the nation’s high court blocked the decision of a lower court that would prevent the Navy from regulating the deployment of 35 Navy SEALs along with other special operations forces that declined the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“President Joe Biden’s administration, along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, have asked the high court on several occasions to turn down lawsuits disputing the military’s vaccine policies, calling the previous request by special operations forces an ‘unprecedented intrusion into core military affairs” that had “no precedent in American history,'” the Washington Examiner reported. 

Frustration with vaccine mandates has spanned across industries with vocations such as teaching and nursing also taking a substantial hit for requiring that participants defy their convictions and take the COVID vaccine. 

In addition to religious grounds, some professionals are also concerned with the health side-effects that some are convinced need more study.