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Constitutional Rights and the Public’s Health

Roe v. Department of Defense


Roe v. Department of Defense (U.S. Court of Appeals – Fourth Circuit, Jan. 10, 2020): The Fourth Circuit upheld a Virginia district court’s nationwide preliminary injunction preventing the Air Force and Department of Defense from enforcing deployment policies in a manner that limited deployment of servicemembers diagnosed with HIV and that consequently resulted in their discharge.  Per the policies, Air Force servicemembers diagnosed with HIV were subject to limited deployment. As a result, some servicemembers were determined to be unfit for duty and discharged. They sued alleging their discharge and the deployments policies, with respect to HIV-positive servicemembers, violated their right to equal protection, the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and were based on outdated notions not supported by current HIV medical evidence. The Fourth Circuit held the district court properly concluded the servicemembers were likely to succeed on the merits of their APA claim. Therefore, the preliminary injunction will stay in place while the case proceeds. Read the decision here. 

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – February 18, 2020.

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