Restraining order request against Rutgers vax mandate rejected
A request for a restraining order against Rutgers University's vaccine mandate is the latest to survive a court challenge.
Adriana Pinto, one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Rutgers filed by the Children's Health Defense, requested the injunction while the lawsuit is considered because as an unvaccinated "fully remote student" she does not pose a threat to students on campus, according to Law360.com.
U.S. District Judge Zahid N. Quraishi ruled against the request because the class Pinto is taking is not officially considered to be remote and Pinto's promise not to be on campus is not enough to warrant the order, according to Law360.com. The judge also considered the risk to public health.
"The public interest of preventing COVID-19, a virus that has taken the lives of many New Jersey residents will not be served if this court were to bar Rutgers from enforcing the policy," Quraishi wrote in his ruling, according to Law360.com.
Rutgers was the first major college in the United States to announce a vaccine mandate for students returning to campus for the fall semester. Almost every college in New Jersey and around the country announced a similar policy.
Lawsuits filed by students have been turned down by judges and the U.S. Supreme Court without explanation rejected a request for an emergency order filed by students at Indiana University.
"Since the university announced the COVID-19 vaccine requirement in March 2021, we have stated our position on vaccines is consistent with the legal authority supporting this policy," Rutgers spokesperson Dory Devlin told New Jersey 101.5. "We remain committed to creating a safe campus environment, and to support the health and safety for all members of the Rutgers community, the university updated its existing immunization requirements for students and many employees to include the COVID-19 vaccine."
The lawsuit filed by an anti-vaccine group founded in 2016 by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that the Rutgers mandate violates the 14th Amendment deprives students of their right to refuse unwanted medical procedures.
NJ.com was first to report the judge's ruling on the restraining order.
Previous reporting by Eric Scott was used in this report.