BLOOMINGTON, Indiana: Indiana University students, on Friday, asked the US Supreme Court to block the university's requirement for compulsory vaccinations against COVID-19.
The students' request is an early test of compulsory vaccination requirements amidst a spike in infections and hospitalizations caused by the Delta variant.
The students filed an emergency request with the justices after lower courts rejected their bid for an injunction against the vaccine mandate while litigation continues.
Starting in autumn, the university will require students to be vaccinated unless they qualify for a religious or medical exemption. Those granted exceptions must wear face masks and be tested twice a week.
Eight students sued in June, contending that the mandate violates their right to "bodily integrity" and due process under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The university "is treating its students as children who cannot be trusted to make mature decisions," the students stated, requesting that the justices decide by 13th August.
COVID-19 vaccines have become a political issue in the U.S., as the highly contagious Delta variant is surging in states with lower vaccination rates.
Hundreds of colleges and universities have already announced COVID-19 vaccination requirements, as well as some private employers, with the students' case being one of the first legal challenges to these mandates.
In July, Damon Leichty, U.S. District Court Judge in South Bend, Indiana, rebuffed the students, ruling that the university's policy "is not forced vaccination."
On 2nd August, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also refused to bar the mandate, noting "vaccination requirements, like other public health measures, have been common in this nation."
"A university will have trouble operating when each student fears that everyone else may be spreading disease," the appeals court added.