SCOTUS Allows Air Force To Punish Members Who Decline Covid Jabs

P. Gardner Goldsmith | April 20, 2022
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Flipping the April 4 lower court ruling that put a temporary stay on punishment, the majority of Supreme Court Justices Monday ruled against a US Air Force member who sought to block the military branch from punishing him in response to his refusal to accept the Covid vaccine injection.

In the case, Dunn v. Austin, Secretary of Defense, just three Justices -- Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch – agreed with the plaintiff’s argument that to force him to take the mRNA jab would have infringed on his inherent right of religious freedom.

This allows the Air Force to issue “discharge” orders and other penalties for Mr. Dunn and other objectors, until the fundamental source of the dispute – Joe Biden’s order for Airmen  to get injected – is heard by SCOTUS. (The military has vowed it will only issue "honorable discharges" for not getting the shot as a matter of policy, and has so far issued no dishonorable discharges for the decision.)

Based on previous rulings, the prospect of any such case seeing the majority rule in favor of future plaintiffs is slim.

As John Kruzel writes, for The Hill:

The court’s move on Monday came in a brief unsigned order that was issued without comment. It follows a ruling last month when the justices restored the Defense Department’s authority over the deployment of unvaccinated Navy special forces operators after a lower court sided with a group of Navy SEALs who challenged the military’s mandate.

Following the August-imposed mandate, the plaintiff, Lt. Col. Jonathan Dunn, was removed from his command and now faces additional punishment.

And to the court, Dunn argued along religious lines, but not those connected to abortion and the fact that mRNA jabs are inextricably tied to the use of fetal cell lines derived from aborted people. Instead, Dunn took a slightly different approach. Writes Kruzel:

Dunn’s unusual legal argument stood out among the numerous other religious-based challenges that have been filed against vaccination mandates since the emergence of COVID-19 two years ago. In court papers, he argued that government leaders have painted the vaccine as a moral obligation and thereby caused it to take on a ‘sacramental quality’ that violated his religious conviction.

In fact, Lt. Col. Dunn and his legal team recall early Christian martyrs and refer to the Book of Daniel, focusing on the issue of worshipping false gods:

’That makes COVID-19 vaccination a religious ritual required as a condition of participating fully in civil society — like ancient Roman laws requiring sacrifices to Caesar, or Nebuchadnezzar’s edict requiring worship of the golden statue,’ his lawyers told the justices. ‘After much prayer, applicant concluded that he cannot participate in such a religious ritual— and thus cannot take the vaccine — because, as a Christian, he must render worship to God only.’

To think that a man or woman joining the military must engage in such a practice inspires consideration of previous SCOTUS rulings that have, albeit not uniformly, generally ruled against what are called “Unconstitutional Conditions.” Those would be Constitution-breaching conditions politicians and bureaucrats place on people in order for those people to take part in some government-offered event or enjoy some government-offered “benefit.” For more information, feel free to read my 2019 MRCTV piece in which I touched on this, writing, in part:

The US Supreme Court has a long history of striking down what are called ‘unconstitutional conditions’, from a 1963 case called “Sherbert v. Verner” (in which the Supremes ruled that the government of South Carolina could not withhold unemployment benefits from a woman who refused to take work on a Sunday because of her religion), to the infamous case of the Cabrini Green housing project near Chicago (in which the Court ruled that the government could not demand that folks submit to no-knock/no-warrant drug raids as a prerequisite to living in the publicly-funded housing project).

Dunn should not have had to go into specifics about why he believed it was sacrilegious to accept the Covid jab order. Some might argue that, by volunteering to join the military, he accepts the prerequisite that he follow commands. But he takes an oath to follow constitutional commands, and the mRNA jabs were made through unconstitutional means.

So, even if one were to argue that he throws away his moral franchise by joining the Air Force, Lt. Col. Dunn’s oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution would require him to disobey an unconstitutional order.

Rejecting the unconstitutionally-created and disseminated Covid jabs is now a punishable option for members of the military who desire to abide by their oaths.

But they will be forced to do it, just as we will be forced to pay for the U.S. government and its unconstitutional mandates on people like Lt. Col. Dunn. 

Americans can see a bigger picture in this. The feds block our moral prerogatives to choose. If one can see that Lt. Col. Dunn should not be forced to accept the jab, how about the bigger, more widespread issue of people being forced to pay the US government as it engages in other activity that is not sanctioned by their Constitution or fundamental human ethics?

Related: Medicare and Medicaid Bureaucracies Retreat From Enforcing Biden’s Jab Mandate | MRCTV