Cincinnati federal judge temporarily stops Air Force globally from discharging religious vaccine refusers
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A federal judge in Cincinnati has certified a national class action lawsuit against the entire U.S. Air Force worldwide and issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Biden administration from enforcing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate on any servicemembers who requested religious exemptions.
In this local case that has now gone global, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew McFarland’s order Thursday stops the Air Force from discharging or disciplining servicemembers for 14 days.
This impacts 80 to 100 plaintiffs stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, who filed the lawsuit against top military leaders back in February, and now 9,000 to 10,000 service members nationally, according to the attorney for the local plaintiffs, Chris Wiest of northern Kentucky.
Biden’s Secretary of the Air Force was ordered to file a supplementary notice no later than July 21 and “no more than ten (10) pages in length identifying why this Court should not grant a class-wide preliminary injunction,” McFarland wrote.
The plaintiffs’ response, also limited to 10 pages, can be filed by July 25, 2022.
Wiest says it’s likely if there is a hearing it will be in Cincinnati. Or, the judge could decide the case in a written decision.
“We are pleased by the judge’s decision protecting the constitutional rights of service members who have dedicated their lives to protecting our constitutional rights,” Wiest tells FOX19 NOW.
“We will continue to litigate this case to its conclusion and look forward to continuing this battle with the federal government.”
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