Judge blocks COVID vaccine mandate for Head Start program

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FILE – A member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup in Philadelphia, on March 26, 2021. A government advisory panel is meeting Thursday, Dec. 16, to determine if any restrictions are needed to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because of […]

MONROE, La. (AP/WBJF) – A Louisiana federal judge has ruled that President Joe Biden cannot require teachers in the Head Start early education program to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The decision hands a victory to 24 states, including Georgia and South Carolina, that had sued the federal government. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty wrote Saturday that the Biden administration unlawfully bypassed Congress when ordering that workers in Head Start programs be vaccinated by Jan. 31. The Head Start mandate also requires immediate masking by all individuals two years of age or older when indoors, when outdoors during activities that involve close contact with other people, and when there are two or more people in a vehicle owned, leased, or arranged by the Head Start Program.

“This is another victory for the rule of law.,” South Carolina Attorney General Wilson said following the ruling. “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,” he added.

In his order, Judge Doughty wrote:

“The issue in this case is not whether individuals should take the COVID-19 vaccine, but whether federal agencies can mandate individuals to take a vaccine or be fired. In this Court’s opinion, the Executive branch has declared it has the authority to make laws through Federal agencies. A crossroad has clearly been reached in this country. If the Executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the Legislative branch to make laws, then this country is no longer a democracy—it is a monarchy.”

Judges have already temporarily blocked vaccine mandates for healthcare workers, for private companies with 100 or more employees, and for federal contractors.

Head Start is a federally funded program that promotes education for children under the age of 6 who are from low-income families. It was not immediately clear whether the federal government would appeal the decision to the 5th Circuit in New Orleans.

You can read the order here

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