Vaccine mandate for Head Start overturned

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - According to a U.S. District Judge’s ruling Wednesday, the Biden Administration and its federal agencies exceeded their authority when they mandated a COVID-19 vaccine for Head Start workers and masks for participating children.

    Wednesday’s ruling orders a permanent injunction against the Head Start mandate in Alaska and in 23 other states.

    “The Court finds the Agency Defendants have exceeded their authority by implementing the Head Start Mandate because Congress only gave Agency Defendants the power to “modify” Head Start performance standards. The Head Start Mandate is not a modification,” states the 27-page ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Terry A. Doughty for the Western District of Louisiana.

    In December 2021, Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor signed onto the lawsuit.

    “This is a pivotal decision in the pandemic’s legal disagreements over vaccines and masks for nearly half the nation,” said Attorney General Taylor. “The District Court lays out that the liberty interests of individuals who would be forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any interest generated by the mandatory administration of vaccines,” said Taylor. “And the court protects the rights of States to protect their citizens from such overreach, as Alaska has been insisting on doing.”  

    On page 21 of the ruling, an excerpt states “The Court finds that the Head Start Mandate, which imposes its requirements upon 273,600 Head Start staff, 864,000 children and approximately 1,000,000 volunteers, involves an agency decision of vast economic and political significance. Congress has not clearly spoken to grant Agency Defendants the authority to impose the Head Start Mandate. Therefore, the Head Start Mandate violates the major questions doctrine.”

    Other court cases also challenge the mandate. The District Court ruled, “This Permanent Injunction order shall remain in effect pending the final resolution of this case, or until further orders from this Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, or the Supreme Court of the United States."

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