WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to block Indiana University's plan to require its students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to the Associated Press, Associate Justice Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected the emergency request from eight students, and it marks the first time the high court has weighed in on a vaccine mandate.
In court papers, the students said they have "a constitutional right to bodily integrity, autonomy, and of medical treatment choice in the context of a vaccination mandate," the AP reported.
They had sought out an order from the Supreme Court barring the university from enforcing the mandate, the AP reported.
According to the AP, seven of the students qualified for a religious exemption.
Barrett gave no reason for the decision.
Previously, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the requirement earlier this month.
According to The New York Times, the circuit court cited their decision based on a 1905 Supreme Court ruling that allowed the State of Massachusetts to impose a penalty on those who declined smallpox vaccinations.
The attorney representing the students said they were disappointed by the decision, but vowed to fight on.
"Our appeal of the denial of the preliminary injunction is not affected by this ruling on the request for an emergency injunction and will continue," attorney James Bopp Jr. said.
College officials across the country have struggled with whether to require vaccinations, with some schools mandating them and others questioning whether they have the legal authority to do so.
Some corporations, states, and cities have adopted vaccine requirements for workers or even to dine indoors, and others are considering doing so.