Didn’t expect to add another update so soon, but I felt I had to post this because we have so many Air Force members. Judge Matthew MacFarland’s Order in Doster v. Kendall came out today and it is absolute music for USAF members of every kind, including even Reservists who were being dropped to “no points, no pay.” Judge MacFarland came through in a HUGE way.
Here is the Order for your own records if you want to download it.
It’s only 3 pages (and a signature), so there’s really no need for a detailed analysis, but here are a few highlights for those who don’t want to download and read it. First, I’ll lead with my favorite slapdown of the leadership.
Lastly, the Court reminds Defendants that “[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 177 (1803). Thus, due to the systematic nature of what the Court views as violations of Airmen’s constitutional rights to practice their religions as they please, the Court is well within its bounds to extend the existing preliminary injunction to all Class Members.
All active-duty, active reserve, reserve, national guard, inductees, and appointees of the United States Air Force and Space Force, including but not limited to Air Force Academy Cadets, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Cadets, Members of the Air Force Reserve Command, and any Airman who has sworn or affirmed the United States Uniformed Services Oath of Office or Enlistment and is currently under command and could be deployed, who: (i) submitted a religious accommodation request to the Air Force from the Air Force1s COVID-19 vaccination requirement, where the request was submitted or was pending, from September 1, 2021 to the present; (ii) were confirmed as having had a sincerely held religious belief substantially burdened by the Air Force’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement by or through Air Force Chaplains; and (iii) either had their requested accommodation denied or have not had action on that request. Excluded from this definition shall be any person within the above class who: (i) opts out, by delivering notice to the Government and Class Counsel in writing of their election to opt out, by electronic mail addresses to be filed with Court.
The real meat is the Court’s outline of the limits of its injunction (with a nice “reminder” to the Defendants.)
Defendants, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and other people acting in concert or participation with them, who receive notice of this preliminary injunction, are PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED from: (i) taking, furthering, or continuing any disciplinary or separation measures against the members of the Class for their refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, while keeping in place the current temporary exemption; such disciplinary or separation measures include, but are not limited to, “adverse administrative actions, non-judicial punishment, administrative demotions, administrative discharges, and courts-martial;” for the benefit of Defendants, this includes continuing any administrative separation or punitive processes or initiating the same.
I get giddy reading that. There’s some additional detail about any pending courts-martial, but suffice it to say, this couldn’t be a more complete win for the good guys. Congratulations to all of you Zoomies! (Don’t get in a huff over the nickname. My dad was an enlisted airmen from 1965-68 and I was named after his Staff NCOIC, whom my dad credits with being a singular leader and mentor to him as a young man… I just took it next level by becoming a Marine Aviator and then Judge Advocate. 😏 😘)
Spread the word to folks in the Air Force and point them here if anyone needs a copy of the Injunction. If you get any pushback from your commands, you should contact Attorney Chris Wiest at Siri Glimstad, as he is the court-appointed class counsel. Again, I really can’t express how good this news is for our Air Force brethren and sistren.