“Recognizing the students’ significant liberty to refuse unwanted medical treatment, the Fourteenth Amendment permits Indiana University to pursue a reasonable and due process of vaccination in the legitimate interest of public health for its students, faculty, and staff,” Judge Damon Leichty wrote in the 101-page ruling.
“Today, on this preliminary record, the university has done so for its campus communities.”
The part of the 14th Amendment cited in Leichty’s ruling says no state may deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
Indiana University praised the ruling in a statement to CNN.
“A ruling from the federal court has affirmed Indiana University’s COVID-19 vaccination plan designed for the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff,” IU said. “We appreciate the quick and thorough ruling which allows us to focus on a full and safe return. We look forward to welcoming everyone to our campuses for the fall semester.”
James Bopp Jr., the lead attorney for the plaintiffs and the director of litigation for America’s Frontline Doctors, said they planned to appeal.
“Today’s ruling does not end the students’ fight — we plan to immediately appeal the judge’s decision,” Bopp said in a statement. “In addition, we plan on asking the judge to put a hold on IU’s Mandate pending that appeal. We are confident the court of appeals will agree that the Mandate should be put on hold.”
“Indiana requires all public university students to be vaccinated for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, and meningococcal disease before attending school. All but one of these vaccinations have been required since 1993,” the ruling said.
In denying the motion, the ruling also points out the university allows for certain exemptions, including religious and medical reasons, and said that students therefore have “multiple choices, not just forced vaccination.”