By Jon Styf, The Center Square
A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked President Joe Biden administration’s vaccine and mask mandate at Head Start preschools, granting a preliminary injunction for the 24 states involved in the lawsuit.
The mandate was set to begin on Jan. 31. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty said that the injunction will remain in effect until the case is settled.
“This issue will certainly be decided by a higher court than this one,” Doughty wrote. “This issue is important. The separation of powers has never been so thin.
“Because the Plaintiff States have satisfied all four elements required for a PI to issue, a PI (preliminary injunction) should issue against the Agency Defendants enjoining and restraining the Agency Defendants from implementing the Head Start Mandate.”
Defendants in the lawsuit included the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administration for Children and Families, which were attempting to make toddlers wear masks and require staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 31.
“This latest attempt by the Biden administration to centrally plan the daily lives of Americans in the name of mitigating COVID-19 is perhaps the most absurd so far,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “The federal government simply has no legal authority to order two-year-olds to wear masks all day at preschool.”
States involved in the suit where the mandate will now be blocked are: Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
“This is another victory for the rule of law,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said. “Yet another court has said no to this abuse of power and executive overreach. These mandates are garbage and we will continue to stand for the rule of law.”
The lawsuit claims a mandate related to Head Start is beyond the authority of the Executive Branch and is against the law, violating the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) Notice-and-Comment Requirement, the Congressional Review Act, the Nondelegation Doctrine, the Tenth Amendment, the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, the Spending Clause and the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1999.
“Once again the federal executive branch has overstepped its legal authority to make laws and once again a federal court has agreed with the State of Alabama that such overreach is unconstitutional and should be stopped,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. “In a rare New Year’s Day order, the Western District Court of Louisiana enjoined the Biden administration from enforcing its vaccine mandate for Head Start workers and its mask mandate for toddlers. The order affects 24 states, including Alabama, which brought suit against the mandate. This victory will help ensure that numerous Head Start programs will continue to operate rather than have to fire teachers and cut back services to children. And this win will forestall the nonsensical and damaging practice of forcing masks on 2-year-olds.”
The Center Square is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on state- and local-level government and economic reporting.