The Defense Department has suffered a major setback in terms of mandating COVID-19 vaccines for all personnel.
According to Just the News, a Navy panel has ruled 3-0 in favor of an officer who objected to getting a vaccine after questioning the legality of the mandatory directive.
The administrative board specifically ruled to retain an officer who refused to comply with the order to get vaccinated:
Navy Lt. Billy Moseley, who has been an officer for 22 years, could have chosen to retire from the military when he was ordered to receive the COVID vaccine. He also could have submitted a Religious Accommodation Request, since he objected to the vaccine for religious reasons.
Risking his retirement, Moseley chose instead to take his case to the administrative separation board after learning “that the Navy and the other services intended to implement a blanket denial policy,” according to a press release from his attorney, R. Davis Younts.
The panel issued its ruling on Friday.
“LT Moseley opposes the vaccine for religious reasons and could have submitted a religious accommodation request, however when he learned that the Navy and the other services intended to implement a blanket denial policy, he began to prayerfully consider other options,” says a press release from Younts’ office.
“After consulting with legal and medical experts, he became convinced that as an officer he had an obligation to take a stand against the unlawful order and be a voice for thousands of enlisted Sailors. LT Moseley risked his twenty-two-year career and his military retirement because of his faith and his commitment to his oath of office as a military leader,” the press release continued.
Younts’ office also said that “thousands” more U.S. military members are still facing prosecution by the military over their refusal to take the vaccine, adding that several of them are clients.
Just the News noted that any sailor who has been a member of the service for six years or more is entitled to appeal to the board for due process. In the Navy in particular, the board’s recommendation over whether or not to retain a member is binding.
Younts argued during the hearing that the mandate for the experimental vaccine was not a lawful order since the military has yet to make fully FDA-approved versions of the vaccines available to members of the armed forces.
The attorney, who specializes in military cases, told the outlet that the Navy’s judge advocate general attorneys agreed that there are currently no FDA-approved vaccines available, only interchangeable ones. He added that since there are no FDA-approved jabs available, President Joe Biden, as commander-in-chief, would need to authorize the experimental vaccines that are currently available, and that hasn’t happened as of yet.
“On Friday, the board voted 3-0 that Moseley’s failure to follow the COVID vaccine order did not count as misconduct and that he should remain in the Navy. Younts said that the board members weren’t convinced that the vaccine order was lawful,” Just the News reported.
He went on to note that the board’s precedent “puts the Navy in an interesting position” regarding the other service members who have also refused the COVID vaccine.