BLOOMINGTON, Ind.–A lawyer representing eight Indiana University students has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent IU from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate.
In May, IU announced it will be requiring all students, faculty, and staff to receive a coronavirus vaccine before they return to campus for the fall semester. IU is allowing for exemptions for religious and some medical circumstances.
Those students have claimed that the vaccine requirement violates their 14th Amendment rights.
“Continuing our fight against this unconstitutional mandate is necessary to guarantee that IU students receive the fair due process they’re owed by a public university,” said James Bopp, Jr., lead counsel in the lawsuit. “An admitted IU student’s right to attend IU cannot be conditioned on the student waiving their rights to bodily integrity and autonomy and to consent to medical treatment like IU has done here.”
Previously, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in South Bend ruled in favor of IU. The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled in favor of IU. Those lower courts have cited a Supreme Court decision from 1905, which held that a state may require vaccines against smallpox.
“Both the district court and the court of appeals applied the wrong law to students’ claims—mental patients who have objected to antipsychotic drugs have received greater consideration from the courts than have the students here. Since 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court has handed down many cases which support students’ claim that their constitutional rights have been violated by IU’s Mandate, and that IU has the burden to prove its Mandate passes constitutional muster. Under the proper review, IU cannot meet its burden of proof that it properly balanced the risks (both known and unknown) of the COVID vaccine to college-age students against the risks of COVID itself for college-aged students before issuing its mandate,” said Bopp on Friday.