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Federal Judge Scraps Michigan State University Employees’ Vaccine Mandate Lawsuit

— February 23, 2022

The workers wrote in their lawsuit that Michigan State violated their “constitutional rights” by requiring them to get vaccinated against novel coronavirus.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by several former Michigan State University employees who filed a lawsuit against the school after it enacted a coronavirus vaccine mandate.

According to, Kalamazoo-based District Judge Paul Maloney said that the workers failed to establish that Michigan State University has no reasonable basis to require that persons with natural immunity be vaccinated against novel coronavirus.

Maloney also dismissed another of the lawsuit’s charges, which alleged that M.S.U. violated workers’ constitutional rights by not giving them the option to decline medical treatment.

In his ruling, the judge cited prevailing guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two of the workers, adds, were fired after refusing to get vaccinated.

The Michigan State University administration building. Image by Ryan J. Farrick.

Despite the unfavorable verdict, attorneys from the New Civil Liberties Alliance—the Washington, D.C.-based group that filed the lawsuit—said it plans to appealing to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“We understand that the court believed it had no choice given the prevailing case law,” attorney Jenin Younes said in a statement. “However, contrary to the judge’s opinions, a higher level of review is warranted. Under such a standard, MSU’s policy is unconstitutional.”

In the initial filing, Younes suggested that a publicly-funded, publicly-run school like Michigan State cannot legally mandate a vaccine.

“We argue that there are fundamental rights that are at issue. Therefore — this government action should be subject to what’s known as strict scrutiny. Whereas the other side — and unfortunately the judge in our case found that rational basis level analysis applies,” Younes said in November. “So the government only has to show that it has an interest and that there’s some rational link between the means and the ends. We don’t think that’s appropriate. We think that of a vaccine requirement like this actually implicates fundamental rights so strict scrutiny should apply.” notes that Michigan State University currently requires staff and students to wear masks on-campus and be vaccinated against novel coronavirus; the compliance deadline was February 1st.

While the school’s mandate applies to most people on campus, it also allows exemptions for medical and religious reasons.

WILX reports that the dismissal comes as Michigan sees a drastic decline in coronavirus cases. The state’s latest infection figures, released on Wednesday, show that the state has its lowest number of confirmed infections since September.

Michigan, like many other states, witnessed a sharp uptick in cases from the omicron variant; these new cases have since leveled off.


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