by Scott McClallen
A federal judge denied a temporary restraining order sought by a Michigan State University employee who sued over the school’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, claiming she has natural immunity.
Jeanna Norris is a supervisory administrative associate and fiscal officer at MSU. The university has threatened disciplinary action, including termination, if employees do not comply with the school’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for the Fall 2021 semester, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.
MSU’s “COVID Directives” mandate faculty, staff, and students are completely vaccinated by August 31 or received at least one dose of a two-dose series unless they obtain a religious or medical exemption or test weekly until fully vaccinated.
U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney cited Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905 in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a state law requiring residents to be vaccinated against smallpox based on the state’s police powers.
Maloney pointed out that Norris is an at-will employee and can quit and work elsewhere if she doesn’t want to be vaccinated.
“Therefore, due to Plaintiff’s at-will employment status, she does not have a constitutionally protected property interest in her employment position and this claim is without merit,” Maloney wrote.
Maloney dismissed the argument that Norris would be forced to be injected with a vaccine with Emergency Use Authorization because, on Aug. 23, the Food and Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine, making the argument moot.
Maloney also said Norris failed to show what irreparable harm would befall her if he doesn’t grant a temporary restraining order because “lost wages and benefits can be calculated to an exact amount.”
Maloney set a hearing on the preliminary injunction for Sept. 22, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. at the Federal Building, 410 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007.
The same day, Maloney granted a temporary restraining order for four Western Michigan University soccer students who sued, saying the mandate violated their religious beliefs.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Michigan State University” by Ken Lund CC BY-SA 2.0.