A U.S. District Court judge on Thursday issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the Biden administration from firing both civilian and active-duty military plaintiffs who sued over religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, in the District of Columbia, ordered that "none of the civilian employee plaintiffs will be subject to discipline while his or her request for a religious exception is pending," according to a tweet by lawyer Jenna Ellis.
"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.
Biden administration defendants were ordered to file a supplemental notice by noon Friday to say whether they will agree that no plaintiff will be disciplined or fired pending the court's ruling.
"BREAKING: @Yoder_Esq with a HUGE WIN in Church v. Biden. (Yes, that’s the actual case caption. For those playing along, 1:21-cv-2815) This is an amazing development from the DC District Court in the stand for OUR RIGHTS against the unconstitutional vaccine mandates," Ellis tweeted Thursday night.
President Joe Biden and members of his administration were sued by 20 plaintiffs over the Sept. 9 executive order mandating vaccines for federal employees, Fox News reported.
"The Biden administration has shown an unprecedented, cavalier attitude toward the rule of law and an utter ineptitude at basic constitutional contours," the plaintiffs' attorney, Michael Yoder, said in a statement to Fox News.
"This combination is dangerous to American liberty. 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."
States and governors also are taking steps against vaccine mandates they say are unconstitutional.
Earlier Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida sued Biden, NASA, and other government agencies over the "unlawful" COVID-19 vaccine mandates that require federal contractors to get vaccinated, and "threaten" the state's economy.
On Wednesday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order allowing state employees to claim medical or religious exemptions in defiance of Biden’s federal vaccine mandate.
Noem said her order will protect citizens' "rights to medical and religious exemptions under any federal vaccine mandates."
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