An Indiana federal district court has just denied a preliminary injunction motion by students seeking to overturn Indiana University’s covert mandate. The decision is long and well reasoned. It also covers all the big points, including emergency use authorization. The plaintiffs tried to wrap themselves in recent Supreme Court precedent overturning religious restrictions in the Cuomo case, but the District Court did not buy it.
Significantly, the District Court used a rational relationship test in its review of the IU policy. Anybody who knows anything about constitutional law knows that to be the kiss of death to a constitutional challenge. Basically, there are three different levels of scrutiny, the strictest being strict scrutiny. Once a court finds strict scrutiny, the law or regulation is overturned. Conversely, if the court makes a determination that the laws governed by a rational relationship test, that means the law will be held to be constitutional, which was the case here.
Of course, this is just one case in one federal court, and there will be others. However, consistent with my recent post, I think the parties and lawyers filing these constitutional claims are going to have a very very uphill battle and that is putting it optimistically.
Here is the court’s decision.
None of you will like it, and some of you will decide not to read it, because they do not care what the law is or think it is wrong and just don’t want to hear why the court denied relief. But for those who want to know how courts analyze vaccine mandate issues, especially in these times, this decision is an excellent piece of education on all of the relevant issues. For sure, in the coming days and weeks, lawyers will carefully go through this decision and see what the weaknesses are, and modify subsequent cases to try to counter them. That is just all part of the process, but this is now the second federal court that has denied a preliminary injunction on a covid mandate.
Rick Jaffe, Esq.