On Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett — who was appointed by former President Donald Trump — rejected students’ challenge to their college’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
The students argued the requirement violated their right to due process under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In June, attorney Jim Bopp, who is representing the students, told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson he was “seeking a preliminary injunction to enjoin this mandate from taking effect and adversely affecting Indiana University students.”
Barrett, acting alone, denied the request.
The justice did not explain the reasoning behind her decision. It is, however, the first claim of its kind to reach the Supreme Court and her ruling comes after several lower courts similarly rejected the students’ argument they they were being unconstitutionally coerced.
“We are disappointed that Justice Barrett refused to intervene and protect IU students’ rights,” Bopp said in a statement, according to ABC News. “Our appeal of the denial of the preliminary injunction is not effected by this ruling on the request for an emergency injunction and will continue.”
“The fight,” he added, “is not over for a long shot.”
As for the lower courts, a federal judge said last week the vaccination mandate can legally remain in place, citing the “balance of harms and the public interest favor” the decision made by Indiana University.
More and more institutions — in both the private and public sector — are implementing vaccination requirements, particularly as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to drive cases upward in most places.
Ben Wakana, deputy director of strategic communications and engagement for the White House’s COVID-19 response, described vaccination mandates as “the right lever at the right time.”
Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller characterized President Joe Biden’s actions as trying “to make life more uncomfortable for the unvaccinated without spurring a backlash in a deeply polarized country that would only undermine his public health goals.”
Dr. Laura Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University, has been outspoken in her support for vaccine requirements.
She told CNN it “needs to be hard for people to remain unvaccinated,” arguing the country needs “to make getting vaccinated the easy choice.”