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Supreme Court Rejects Appeals from Anti-Vaccine Group Founded by RFK Jr.

The Supreme Court has declined to review two Covid-19-related appeals brought by Children’s Health Defense, an anti-vaccine organization founded by independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. This decision upholds previous rulings against the group by lower courts, effectively ending these particular legal challenges.

One of the cases contested the emergency authorization of Covid-19 vaccines by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2020. The plaintiffs, including Children’s Health Defense and a group of parents, argued that the vaccines were ineffective and inadequately tested. However, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans dismissed the case, ruling that Kennedy’s group lacked the legal standing to sue.

The second case involved a challenge to Rutgers University’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate for students attending in-person classes. The mandate, introduced in 2021, exempted faculty and staff but required students to be vaccinated. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia found that the plaintiffs failed to present a plausible claim for relief, leading to the dismissal of the case.

Despite Kennedy’s temporary departure from Children’s Health Defense in April 2023 to focus on his presidential campaign, he remains listed as a lawyer on the Supreme Court filing related to the Rutgers University case. Kennedy’s campaign has seen him moderating his anti-vaccine rhetoric, although he did address a Children’s Health Defense conference in November.

In addition to these cases, the Supreme Court also rejected a separate challenge to Connecticut’s elimination of a religious exemption for school vaccinations. This decision further underscores the judiciary’s stance on upholding vaccine mandates and public health measures.

Kennedy’s presidential campaign continues as an independent candidate after an unsuccessful attempt in the Democratic primaries. His anti-vaccine advocacy has been a significant aspect of his public persona, despite the controversy and criticism it has attracted.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear these appeals marks a significant setback for Children’s Health Defense and its efforts to challenge vaccine mandates and authorizations. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, the implications of this decision will be closely watched by both supporters and critics of vaccine policies.