President Biden cannot require teachers in the Head Start early education program to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a Louisiana federal judge ruled on Saturday (Jan. 1), handing a victory to 24 states that had sued the federal government.
U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty wrote that the Biden administration unlawfully bypassed Congress when ordering that workers in Head Start programs be vaccinated by January 31 and that students 2 years or older be masked when indoors or when in close contact outdoors.
“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,” the ruling said. “In this Court’s opinion, the Executive branch has declared it has the authority to make laws through Federal agencies … 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.”
“This issue will certainly be decided by a higher court than this one,” the ruling said. “This issue is important. The separation of powers has never been so thin.”
All 24 states responsible for the lawsuit—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—will be affected by this ruling.
Additionally, a federal judge on Friday (Dec. 31) halted the mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates for Head Start programs in Texas.