Judge rules on US military vax mandate lawsuit — Analysis
The Pentagon is supported by a federal US judge in the initial legal test for the Covid-19 mandate.
A US federal judge has ruled against the Oklahoma government and a group of soldiers in a lawsuit challenging the military’s vaccination requirements, denying a requested pause on the policy for National Guard troops in the state.
US District Judge Stephen Friot said he would not grant a temporary injunction against the mandate in a decision on Tuesday, arguing the state’s case is “without merit.”
“The vaccine mandate to which the Governor objects is… intended to protect service members from the virus which has, in less than two years, killed more Americans than have been killed in action in all of the wars the United States has ever fought,”The judge stated.
Originally filed on December 2 on behalf of Governor Kevin Stitt, state Attorney General John O’Connor and 16 anonymous Air National Guard soldiers, the lawsuit followed previous wrangling over the same mandate – sparked after the Oklahoma Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Thomas Mancino, told his troops they would not be penalized for being unvaccinated. After seeking an exemption from Pentagon, Governor Stitt was eventually denied. The issue went to the courts shortly after.
The state government claimed that the mandate was unconstitutional, and it was imposed in its lawsuit “without any semblance of a congressional authorization,”insisting on the fact that President Joe Biden should be able to get consent from Congress before proceeding “a matter of such vast political and economic significance.”In addition, the lawsuit accused White House “trying to disarm the State of Oklahoma from protecting itself, its territory, and its citizens” by threatening to discharge unvaccinated troops who haven’t received a formal exemption.
However, Judge Friot also noted that the state’s original complaint focused “entirely” on the wrong federal order – one which applies only to civilian government contractors – and that an amended suit addressing the correct statutes was only filed on Monday. Despite the apparent mix-up, the judge shot down the state’s request regardless, arguing that its lawsuit demonstrated a “fundamental”There is a misinterpretation of the National Guard’s authority.