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Federal Court Strikes Down Colorado University’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate as Unconstitutional

In a landmark decision earlier this month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit delivered a scathing rebuke to the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine, declaring its COVID-19 vaccine mandate unconstitutional.

The 55-page ruling highlighted that the mandate, which excluded religious exemptions, was tainted by “religious animus” and thus violated the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberties.

The court’s decision reversed a prior ruling by a lower court, bringing to an end a contentious legal battle initiated by the Thomas More Society on behalf of 17 faculty members and students.

These individuals had faced severe repercussions, including dismissals and expulsions, for their refusal to comply with the university’s vaccine policies due to their deeply held religious beliefs.

In September 2021, under its controversial policy, the University of Colorado mandated COVID-19 vaccination for all individuals accessing its facilities or participating in its programs, with strictly limited exemptions. Legal challenges were quickly mounted as affected parties claimed that their rights to religious freedom were being infringed upon.

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