A federal judge denied a request to impose a temporary injunction to stop COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the cities of Charleston and North Charleston, in Charleston County and the St. Johns Fire District.
The ruling, from Judge David Norton, means the vaccine mandates those municipalities put into place can remain in effect.
Norton said in his ruling that it is not the court’s role to determine and impose employer policies that “best strike the balance of competing interests in a pandemic.” He went on to say the plaintiffs in the case did not state a viable legal theory in support of an injunction.
Attorney Tom Fernandez, who represented the plaintiffs in the request for the injunction, released a statement just before noon Thursday:
I obviously disagree with the judge’s decision. All of these plaintiffs have a right -- inherited at birth and protected by the Constitution -- to their own bodily autonomy. The decision for healthcare is a choice that must be left between an individual, their doctor, and their Heavenly Father. It should never be left up to government coercion under threat of fine, citation or even loss of employment.
“The judge’s decision to deny the [temporary restraining order] leaves our 125 plaintiffs and hundreds of other government employees in the position of choosing their job or standing up for their God-given medical freedom,” Attorney Josh Hooser, who also represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement.