The Pentagon won its first battle over its vaccine mandate for the National Guard, but a broader fight over the mandate is raging as multiple states seek to exert their authority.
A federal judge in late December rejected a bid from Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) to preliminarily block the mandate. However, the state still has options, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is waging his own legal battle over the mandate a week after Oklahoma's loss.
The legal fight is just one chapter of a much wider political fight over the COVID-19 vaccine, which has been brewing over the past year as some Republican-controlled states fight vaccine mandates in the civilian world.
The political fight has been waged in other military services, notably on the issue of religious exemptions. Last week, a Texas federal judge blocked the Navy from taking “any adverse actions” against 35 Navy sailors who applied for religious exemptions against the mandate.
"I think what we see is there isn’t an exemption process for ... 'this goes against my political beliefs,'" said Katherine Kuzminski, director of the Military, Veterans and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security.
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