(Washington, D.C., March 25, 2022) – Earlier this month, the American Freedom Law Center filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of four members of the U.S. Navy’s elite Sea, Air, and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, challenging the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. The Navy SEALs object to the mandate on religious grounds.
One of the Navy SEALs—identified as Navy SEAL 4 in this litigation (the identities of the SEALs are protected from public disclosure for security reasons)—was recently informed that the Navy was now initiating adverse separation proceedings against him for the “Commission of a Serious Offense.” According to the Navy, the “serious offense” is his “refusal of the COVID-19 vaccination” on religious grounds.
Due to the impending nature of these proceedings, today (March 25, 2022) AFLC filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and supporting memorandum of law, asking the court to
“enter a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from (1) enforcing against Navy SEAL 4 any order or regulation requiring COVID-19 vaccination and (2) from instituting or enforcing any adverse or retaliatory action against Navy SEAL 4 as a result of, arising from, or in conjunction with Navy SEAL 4’s religious objection to the COVID-19 vaccination mandate, his request for a religious exemption from the vaccine mandate, or pursuing this action or any other action for relief under [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] or the First and Fifth Amendments.”
Navy SEAL 4 has honorably served in the Navy for nearly 17 years, serving 12 of those years as a SEAL. The Navy is now seeking to discipline and separate him from the military for “misconduct.”
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise commented:
“Without the injunction, our nation will be losing a well-trained, veteran warfighter during a time when the world is now a far less safe place, particularly in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s aggressive actions toward Taiwan, and many other geopolitical threats. The public is best served by having veteran warfighters like this Navy SEAL serving in defense of our nation. And the public is best served by having a military that is strong enough to respect and protect its service members’ constitutional and statutory religious rights.”
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Davis Yerushalmi added:
“We rely on young brave men like these Navy SEALs to daily face death and destruction to protect our precious liberties. The Biden administration and the courts treat the religious faith of these brave service members as inconsequential. We should all be outraged by this behavior and support these brave and courageous Navy SEALs fighting now in the courts to protect not only their liberties, but our liberties as well. Don’t stand down . . . get involved. Support AFLC’s pro bono work.”