September 17, 2021

Judge rules Louisiana college vaccine mandate violates religious liberty protections

A federal judge ruled against a vaccine mandate at a Louisiana medical school, arguing the requirement stood against religious liberty rights.

“Therefore, under Louisiana law, students at VCOM are not subject to VCOM’s mandatory vaccine requirements if the student provides a written statement from a physician that the procedure is contraindicated for medical reason or presents a written dissent from a student or student’s guardian,” U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty said in the ruling.

Solicitor General Liz Murrill stated, “This is a win for the people of Louisiana who have sincerely held religious convictions and other reservations about these vaccines.”

She added, “The bottom line is that the law and constitution still apply. We are grateful to Judge Doughty for protecting their rights and upholding the rule of law, and we will continue to work toward an acceptable resolution.”

Mark Neal, an attorney for school, said the college accepted the ruling. “VCOM’s goal was to ensure the safety and health of its students and faculty while also respecting each person’s deeply held religious beliefs,” Neal said in an email, according to The Associated Press.

“Amidst this international health crisis, VCOM is navigating an area of law that has yet to fully develop at either the state or federal level,” it added.

The decision will remain important, as many universities have considered or passed similar measures. A vaccine mandate legal case was turned down involving Indiana University when an appeal was made to the Supreme Court.

The case will continue to add to the many controversial decisions regarding vaccine requirements. In this case, students can continue to choose whether or not to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

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