Partner Mark Moore Discusses Impact of Supreme Court Ruling on Vaccine Mandates

RPJ Partner Mark Moore was quoted in Quartz last Thursday in an article reported by Lila Maclellan entitled “The US Supreme Court’s Indiana University Ruling Isn’t a Free Pass for Vaccine Mandates.”

The piece discusses the recent rejection by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett of an emergency request to halt the operation of  Indiana University’s vaccine mandate and that rejection’s impact on workplaces, colleges, and private businesses.

U.S. District Court Judge Damon Leichty first ruled against the student-led petition seeking an injunction against the Indiana University mandate based on the right to bodily autonomy, a decision which was affirmed by the U.S. Circuit Court for the Seventh Circuit.  Justice Amy Coney Barrett then rejected the emergency request for a review of this denial of relief. Mark described the trial court decision at issue as a “well reasoned, balanced, and level-headed tour de force, with Judge Leichty carefully examining a broad range of medical opinion concerning Covid-19, its incidence and transmission, and the development of, risks of, and efficacy of the various vaccines.”

While the case is specific to the government’s role in mandating vaccinations because Indiana University is a state school, Mark believes the university’s actions “will be persuasive in other settings” within the private sector and will be “certainly a signal to litigants nationally.”

“Students did have ‘significant liberty protected by the due process rights of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution in refusing unwanted medical treatment based on ‘bodily autonomy’ but this was not a ‘fundamental’ right such as the right to free speech,” Mark explains.

Mark emphasizes that the ruling was preliminary and the evolution of the pandemic could impact future mandate laws. “If the risks of Covid dissipate, then the vaccination mandates may become unreasonably burdensome,” he says.

To learn more, read the full article on Quartz here.