Indiana University Students Ask Supreme Court to Block Vaccine Mandate

By Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
August 6, 2021 Updated: August 6, 2021

A lawyer for a group of Indiana University (IU) students opposing their school’s vaccine mandate filed an appeal Friday with the Supreme Court challenging the school’s CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine mandate, which takes full effect this fall.

James Bopp called for the Justices to take up the students’ case following a lower court’s decision this week that sided with the university’s decision to require all students returning to campus to get vaccinated or else have a medical condition or a religious exemption.

However, if the students are exempted from the vaccine, the university wants them to wear a mask and be tested twice a week. The students are arguing that the mandate by IU is an infringement of their 14th Amendment right.

“IU is coercing students to give up their rights to bodily integrity, autonomy, and of medical treatment choice in exchange for the discretionary benefit of matriculating at IU,” Bopp told the Supreme Court.

“Continuing our fight against this unconstitutional mandate is necessary to guarantee that IU students receive the fair due process they’re owed by a public university,” stated James Bopp in a press release. “An admitted IU student’s right to attend IU cannot be conditioned on the student waiving their rights to bodily integrity and autonomy and to consent to medical treatment like IU has done here.”

Meanwhile, a Lower court has ruled against the students, citing as an example a Supreme Court decision from 1905 that said that states can require vaccines for smallpox.

A judge on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals said that vaccination requirements “have been common in this nation” and stated that the university’s policies allow exemptions for religious and medical reasons.

“These plaintiffs just need to wear a mask and be tested, requirements that are not constitutionally problematic,” the court stated, and added that vaccination is a condition for attending the university.

“A university will have trouble operating when each student fears that everyone else may be spreading diseases,” the court stated. “Few people want to return to remote education—and we do not think that the Constitution forces the distance-learning approach on a university that believes vaccination (or masks and frequent testing of the unvaccinated) will make in-person operations safe enough.”

Indiana University did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the students’ Supreme Court appeal.

On May. 19, Indiana state representatives sent a letter to the governor asking him to use his authority to stop the university from mandating vaccines.

“Nobody is disputing that COVID-19 is real, or dismissing the contributions of healthcare professionals over the past year,” they wrote. “However, enforcing a mandate that students and faculty accept a vaccine that does not have full FDA approval is unconscionable.”

Masooma Haq