The U.S. Supreme Court tossed three cases challenging the Biden administration’s now-rescinded COVID-19 jab mandates for federal government employees and military members.

Before the high court reviewed the cases, the Biden administration scrapped the mandates.

Instead of reviewing decisions from the lower courts, the Supreme Court gave instructions to dismiss the cases as “moot.”

“In this instance, ‘moot’ refers to a case involving an issue (COVID-19 vaccine mandates) that did exist, but was resolved by some means other than the court ruling in favor of one side or the other,” The Defender reports.

Children’s Health Defense (CHD) staff attorney Ray Flores told the outlet the Supreme Court’s move prevents a lower court’s decision from setting case precedent.

In other words, the high court left the door open for future vaccine mandates.

“Erasing a ruling erases case precedent,” Flores told The Defender.

“When the next mandates come, and they will, it’s back to square one,” he added.

The Defender provided background on the three cases challenging the COVID-19 jab mandates:

Feds for Freedom — a nonprofit representing more than 8,500 federal workers — sued the Biden administration and several federal agencies in December 2021 after Biden introduced Executive Order 14043 in September 2021.

That order required more than 3.5 million federal executive branch workers to undergo COVID-19 vaccination unless they secured approved medical or religious exemptions.

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in March upheld a preliminary injunction in that case, issued in January 2022 by a federal judge. The 5th Circuit ruled that the federal courts — and not an administrative venue like the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), as the administration alleged — had jurisdiction over the case

The court ruled the mandate should be suspended as the case proceeded through the courts.

In a second case challenging the federal employee mandate, Navy civilian employee Jason Payne alleged the vaccine mandate was unconstitutional and exceeded the administration’s authority.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit came to the opposite decision in that case, ruling in March that the MSPB and not the courts had jurisdiction over the case.

The Biden administration in May rescinded the vaccine mandate along with the COVID-19 public health emergency. The mandates had “saved millions of lives” it claimed in a press release, but “we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer necessary.”

The administration argued that the cases are no longer relevant because it revoked the mandate.

In the third case, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in December 2022 unanimously ruled that the U.S. Air Force had wrongly denied the requests of over 10,000 unvaccinated Air Force members who requested a religious exemption. The court ordered the Air Force to stop all disciplinary action against them.

In that decision, the court held that the Air Force had a “uniform policy” of denying religious exemptions to anyone who wanted to remain in the service.

Chief Nerd writes:

“The Supreme Court on Dec. 11 threw out three cases involving federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates, handing a win to President Joe Biden and his administration.

In unsigned rulings, the justices said that rulings against mandates imposed by President Biden and the U.S. military have been vacated.

They also remanded the cases back to lower courts with instructions for the courts to vacate preliminary injunctions that had been in place against the administration as moot.

The decisions mean that the rulings won’t act as precedent in future vaccine mandate cases.”

“We believe the United States Constitution clearly does not permit the federal government to force federal workers—or any law abiding citizen—to inject their bodies with something against their will. In fact, the freedom to control your own body and your own medical information is so basic that, without those liberties, it is impossible to truly be ‘free’ at all,” Marcus Thornton, president of Feds for Freedom, said in a statement, according to The Epoch Times.

“We are disappointed that the Supreme Court dodged these important Constitutional arguments and instead chose to vacate our case on technicalities,” he added.

“In federal and state courts, the government strategy has largely been to try to moot problematic vaccine rulings, and vacate the lower court rulings, in what appears to be open gamesmanship. It is disappointing that the Supreme Court issued these rulings yesterday, as this will only encourage that tactic going forward,” Sujata Gibson, a civil rights attorney representing plaintiffs in several New York cases challenging COVID-19 jab mandates, told The Defender.

From The Epoch Times:

The government was asking the Supreme Court to endorse a “heads we win, tails you get vacated” version of a previous court decision, United States v. Munsingwear, lawyers for the federal workers wrote in one brief. If granted, the government would be able to “litigate to the hilt in both district and circuit court and—only if they lose—then decline to seek substantive review from this court and instead moot the case and ask this court to erase the circuit court loss from the books,” according to the brief.

Lawyers for the military members noted that Congress forced the military to rescind its mandate, but that the legislation didn’t prevent the Department of Defense from issuing another mandate.

Government lawyers said the mandates were rescinded because the pandemic situation had changed, not because they were challenged. They also argued that the mandates “cannot be reasonably expected to recur.”

Lawyers for the military members said that the claim was “in serious tension” with the demand to vacate the rulings under the Munsingwear precedent, given that the purpose of such a move “is to clear the path for future re-litigation without res judicata concerns.”

None of the Supreme Court justices except for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was appointed by President Biden, explained their decisions on the cases.

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