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San Diego student asks SCOTUS to block school vaccination mandate

The district has set a December 20 vaccination deadline for students 16 and older who wish to continue attending classes in person. | Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

An anonymous San Diego student and her parents are calling for an emergency freeze from the United States Supreme Court on the San Diego Unified School District’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate, urging the need for a religious exemption.

“The district has made irreplaceable benefits and privileges conditional on the surrender of First Amendment rights,” the plaintiffs wrote in their Friday petition.

Background: Public schools in San Diego, along with the Districts of Los Angeles and Sacramento, have moved ahead of Governor Gavin Newsom’s statewide vaccination mandate for schoolchildren, putting in place coronavirus inoculation requirements prior to full FDA approval of vaccines for children aged 5 to 12 years.

The anonymous plaintiffs immediately sued the San Diego warrant, and the 9th Circuit appeals court temporarily barred the district from enforcing its rules until authorities remove a pregnancy exemption they had included in their plan. initial.

The reasoning was that the district did not give fair treatment to all students who did not wish to be vaccinated, because the authorities did not defer to those who had religious objections.

The district has set a December 20 vaccination deadline for students 16 and older who wish to continue attending classes in person.

The SCOTUS petition: Lawyers for the plaintiffs have said that beyond the emergency freeze, they also plan to ask High Court judges to hear and decide their case, citing the growing number of conflicting rulings over court warrants at across the country. They presented their lawsuit as “an excellent vehicle for dealing with disputes of national importance”.

“As the Court is aware, there are a multitude of challenges regarding various government vaccination mandates pending in lower courts and before this Court, some of which include claims of religious freedom,” wrote the lawyers, who include lawyers. from two prominent conservative legal groups. , the Thomas More Society and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

And after: However, the judges’ decision to act will have a ripple effect across the country and particularly in California, which is set to implement a mandate to vaccinate students by the next school year.

So far, no other governor has followed Newsom’s lead in announcing mandatory Covid-19 injections for schoolchildren. Newsom based its mandate on the formal FDA approval of vaccines for students under the age of 16; So far, the agency has only provided an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children 5 to 15 years old.

While San Diego Unified also used formal FDA approval as a threshold, the state’s largest district, Los Angeles Unified, made Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for students ages 12 to 15 on next month. San Diego and Los Angeles neighborhoods have few exemptions, unlike Newsom’s plan, which grants more leniency.

The plaintiffs have filed their emergency request with Judge Elena Kagan, who is dealing with cases received from the 9th Circuit. Kagan requested a response from the school district by Thursday.

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