Supreme Court Sides With Pentagon Over COVID-19 Vaccination Status in Navy SEALs Deployment

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday in favor of the Pentagon, temporarily granting the department’s request to let U.S. Navy commanders consider COVID-19 vaccination status when deciding whether to deploy Navy SEALs or other Navy Special Warfare personnel.

The order overturns a district court order in January, and is in place until ongoing litigation is resolved in other lower courts.

Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a concurring opinion (pdf): “In this case, the District Court, while no doubt well-intentioned, in effect inserted itself into the Navy’s chain of command, overriding military commanders’ professional military judgments.”

His statement parallels an argument the Biden administration made to the Supreme Court in early March (pdf), which reads, in part: “By requiring the Navy to deploy and assign respondents without regard for their vaccination status, the district court effectively inserted itself into the Navy’s chain of command.”

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