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    Judge orders temporary halt to Western Michigan’s athlete vaccine rule

    A federal judge on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order barring Western Michigan University from mandating COVID-19 vaccination among its athletes. 

    U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney’s 14-day pause on the university’s vaccine mandate for athletes comes after four student athletes sued the university Monday on the grounds that the requirement violated their religious beliefs. 

    The athletes were set to be permanently kicked off their teams if they weren’t vaccinated prior to Tuesday. 

    Maloney said Tuesday that Western’s mandate “is not justified by a compelling interest and is not narrowly tailored.”

    “When law forces an individual to choose between following her religious beliefs or forfeiting benefits, the law places a substantial burden on the individual’s free exercise of religion,” wrote the judge, who is an appointee of former President George W. Bush.  



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