As the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus continues to upend life in America, a number of institutions are weighing just how to help bring an end to the pandemic and see life return to something much closer to normal than we’ve had the last 18 months. For many, that means requiring employees or patrons to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests.
Those less willing to accept that vaccination is a clear path to helping end the death and suffering of the pandemic have launched a number of legal cases to fight vaccination mandates from various institutions. But one somewhat surprising blow to their cause came on Thursday when Supreme Court Justice (and controversial Trump nominee) Amy Coney Barrett denied a request to block a vaccine mandate from Indiana University.
According to the New York Times, the Supreme Court allowed the university to impose its vaccine mandate, dismissing a suit brought by eight students who claimed the rule violated their constitutional rights to “bodily integrity, autonomy and medical choice.”
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who oversees the federal appeals court in question, turned down the students’ request for emergency relief without comment, which is the court’s custom in ruling on emergency applications. She acted on her own, without referring the application to the full court, and she did not ask the university for a response. Both of those moves were indications that the application was not on solid legal footing.
The students were represented by James Bopp Jr., a prominent conservative lawyer who has been involved in many significant lawsuits, including the Citizens United campaign finance case.
That the ruling was turned down is not particularly surprising given the case law about vaccine mandates from other eras of US history, including the right of schools to mandate vaccines for students to enroll. But that it was Barrett who ruled to dismiss the suit caused some conservatives to lose their mins on Thursday. Especially given her extremely conservative view of the law and that she was a Trump appointee to the court pushed through quickly after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the word “traitor” seemed to be thrown around a lot about Barrett after less than a year on the court.
When your cornerback flubs an easy third and 12 play while putting his hands to the face and the wide receiver gets a free first down pic.twitter.com/q0eEWpNCBx
— Jane Coaston (@janecoaston) August 13, 2021
Amy Coney Barrett is a coward and traitor.
— 🇺🇸 Matthew Holliday 🇺🇸 (@Matthew_4_Trump) August 12, 2021
There were a lot of tweets about the ruling, enough to make the justice’s name trend on Twitter by Thursday night.
Maybe, just maybe, Amy Coney Barrett is taking a pro-life position here?
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) August 12, 2021
Republicans losing their shit upon finding out Amy Coney Barrett has some positions they hate after salivating over her ridiculously pathetic vetting and rushed confirmation is, I do feel, a tasty dinner treat.
— Jessica Ellis (@baddestmamajama) August 12, 2021
So one Trump Judge says Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and the MyPillow asshole can be sued, and another Trump appointed Judge (Amy Coney Barrett) turns down anti-vaxxers at Indiana University trying to block its vaccine mandate. A good day for Trump judges.
— Mr. Newberger (@jeremynewberger) August 12, 2021
That a ruling was made that largely makes sense and is still a surprise given who is on the Supreme Court says a lot about where we are in America as well as about the highest court in the land. But expect to hear a lot more about court cases and vaccine mandates as the Delta variant surges and life amid a pandemic continues to evolve.