Pentagon asks SCOTUS to use discretion with unvaccinated SEALs

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Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

The US Department of Defense on Monday filed an urgent motion with the US Supreme Court asking the nine justices to restore the Pentagon’s deployment authority over Navy SEALs who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19. .

“The Secretary of Defense has determined, as part of his military judgment, that vaccination against COVID-19 is necessary to protect service members and defend the American people,” the solicitor general said. Elizabeth Prelogar argue.

The request comes after the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declined to stay an injunction that blocks the Biden administration’s vaccination mandate in a decision made last week. The preliminary injunction against the warrant was initially granted by a Fort Worth district court in early January after dozens of SEALs were sued.

This first decision was made by George W. Bush-appointed U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas Reed O’Connor, known for attempting to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, in December 2018 after the individual mandate was ruled unconstitutional. The Fifth Circuit then declined to hear a challenge.

According to the filing, the lower court rulings upended the military command structure by acceding to SEAL demands and placed judicial decision-making ahead of military decisions on “deployment, assignment, and other operational decisions.”

Additionally, the Biden administration notes, the injunction also prohibits the Navy from altering any of the military’s assignments, “including special operations deployment” in light of the “risks posed” by the SEALs’ refusal. to get vaccinated against COVID-19. .

“The court’s preliminary injunction not only prohibits the Navy from applying the COVID-19 vaccination requirement to the defendants, but also requires the Navy to assign and deploy them without regard to their lack of vaccinations, notwithstanding the judgment of military leaders that this poses intolerable risks to the security and success of the mission,” the 42 page request Remarks. “Indeed, the Navy informed [the DOD] that the injunction has already compelled him to send a defendant to Hawaii to serve on a submarine against his military judgment.

The filing excoriates the lower courts as playing robed and would-be commanders:

“[J]judges are not in charge of running the army” or the navy, and it is the executive officials responsible for protecting our national security and defending our borders – not the courts – who have the power to determine the fitness of the military to duty and assignments.

Problems with judicial intervention in military affairs are not limited to formal separation of powers concerns, but also include practical issues.

The preliminary injunction flouts these principles. By requiring the Navy to deploy and assign respondents regardless of their vaccination status, the District Court effectively inserted itself into the Navy’s chain of command, overriding the “professional military judgments” of military commanders on operational needs and requirements.

Calling the injunction an “extraordinary and unprecedented intrusion into essential military matters,” the Biden administration is making clear that it is seeking only limited relief by not contesting part of the district court ruling that prohibits SEALs from being subject to “discipline or discharge for remaining unvaccinated.

“Instead, the government has requested a reprieve only to the extent that the injunction” prevents the Navy from considering [respondents’] vaccination status in deployment, assignment and other operational decisions,” the filing notes. “The lower courts have denied even this modest relief. [The Supreme] The court should grant a partial stay.

The filing asks that the partial stay take effect “pending the completion of proceedings in the Court of Appeal and, if necessary” if the DOD files a writ of certiorari with the High Court.

“[W]Regardless of the merits of the respondents’ challenges, the public has no interest in an injunction that requires the Navy to subordinate its professional judgment that vaccination is necessary for military readiness to the contrary views of lower courts,” the filing states. .

The SEALs have until Monday of next week to file their response.

[image via screengrab/YouTube]

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