On Monday, several University of Colorado (“CU”) students, represented by conservative tiger attorney James Bopp, Jr., filed a federal lawsuit against CU challenging its draconian COVID Vaccine Mandate.
The lawsuit alleges that CU has violated: (1) the students’ constitutional liberty interests by forcing students to take an unwanted medical treatment; (2) the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by evaluating the “sincerity” and doctrine of CU students’ religious beliefs in order to receive a religious exemption; (3) the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by choosing between favored and disfavored systems of belief for religious exemptions; and (4) the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
CU’s Mandate requires every student to take the COVID vaccine and self-disclose his vaccination status. If a student refuses to do so and does not receive an exemption, the student will suffer strong consequences. These consequences amount to virtual expulsion from CU if a student refuses to get the COVID vaccine.
While CU’s Mandate applies generally to all campuses, each campus has campus-specific implementation, including different processes for considering exemption requests. CU’s Mandate does not include an exemption for those with a natural immunity to COVID, including those who have previously been infected by COVID and fully recovered or for many medical contra-indications.
Numerous government agencies and officials, including the CDC Director, Dr. Walensky, admit that the COVID injections do not prevent infection by and transmission of COVID, but may provide protection from serious disease and death. Because they do not provide protection from the spread of the virus, Students argue that the COVID injections should be considered medical treatments, instead of a public health measure.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the government cannot force medical treatments on competent individuals who do not consent to the treatment. Outside of the context of prison, where the rights of prisoners to refuse treatment are circumscribed, such mandates are unlawful under constitutional precedent.
Individual CU campuses can determine their own processes for exemptions, which has led some CU campuses to require students “prove” their religious convictions are sincere. Under the First Amendment, the government does not have the authority to distinguish which religious denominations really “qualify” as having a sincere doctrinal belief on a myriad of issues.
“Students are not prisoners, and they should be afforded the right to refuse an unwanted medical treatment,” said James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, lead counsel for Students. “CU’s Mandate violates the fundamental liberty and religious rights of CU’s students—it requires all CU students without any meaningful exemptions to take the COVID vaccine. CU is not seeking voluntary consent from its students to take the COVID vaccination—it is coercing its students under threat of virtual expulsion to take a vaccine even though the risks associated with the vaccine, especially for college-age students, are serious and increasingly recognized, and students are at an extremely low risk of adverse effects if they get a COVID infection.”
America’s Frontline Doctors provided valuable expert declarations and scientific analysis to assist The Bopp Law Firm in this litigation.
The complaint and related Preliminary Injunction Memorandum is available on The Bopp Law Firm, PC’s website here.
University of Colorado
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
CDC Director Dr. Walensky
America’s Frontline Doctors