Fourth injunction against federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates obtained by Kansas

FILE(Source: WCBS via CNN)
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 3:39 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A fourth injunction against federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates has been obtained by Kansas AG Derek Schmidt.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says this past week a federal judge temporarily prohibited the Biden Administration from enforcing new COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates for Head Start preschool programs in Kansas.

In December, AG Schmidt said he filed a federal lawsuit that challenged the legality of the new federal mandate, and on Saturday, Jan. 1, a federal judge in Louisiana granted the request for a temporary injunction to prohibit the enforcement of the mandate while the legality is reviewed by courts.

Schmidt said the injunction prohibits enforcement of the mandate, which generally requires Head Start employees to be vaccinated against the virus and requires students age 2 and older to wear masks. He said enforcement is prohibited in the 24 states which joined the lawsuit, including Kansas.

“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,” Schmidt said. “The federal government simply has no legal authority to order two-year-olds to wear masks all day at preschool.”

Schmidt said the Head Start mandate is the fourth vaccine mandate he has challenged in court. He said he obtained injunctions on each of the four challenges, however, one was later overturned by an appellate court and is undergoing further judicial review. He said the status of the four challenged mandates is as follows:

Head Start mandate: Generally requires to be vaccinated and children age 2 and older to wear masks. Currently, this mandate is blocked in Kansas by federal court injunction after Schmidt filed the suit to challenge the legality. The federal government has not yet stated whether it plans to appeal the injunction.

Federal contractor mandate: Generally requires businesses and entities, like defense contractors and research universities, to employ only vaccinated workers. Currently, this mandate is blocked nationally by a federal court injunction after Schmidt challenged its legality. The court of appeals denied a stay of the injunction and the federal government has not yet sought further review.

Health care mandate: Generally requires hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid payments to require employees to be vaccinated. Currently, this mandate is blocked in Kansas by a federal court injunction after Schmidt challenged its legality and that injunction has been affirmed by a federal appellate court. The U.S. Department of Justice has appealed the injunction to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has scheduled oral argument for this case for Friday, Jan. 7.

Private employer mandate: Generally requires private employers that are subject to regulation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and that have over 100 employees to require vaccinations or regular COVID-19 testing. The mandate is currently scheduled to go into effect after an earlier stay was overturned by an appellate court, but Kansas and other plaintiffs have appealed and asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the stay to block the mandate. The high court has scheduled oral arguments in the case for Friday, Jan. 7.

Schmidt said he expects more clarity on the rapidly evolving legal status of vaccine mandates after the Supreme Court hears arguments on Friday and rules on requested temporary injunctions. He said he is optimistic the Court will favor the injunctions.

“In my view, the Biden administration has contorted the law and taken legal shortcuts that shut out public input in order to impose its will on American citizens and businesses,” Schmidt said. “We think these federal mandates are illegal, but merely complaining about them accomplishes nothing – so we’re in court standing up for Kansas and fighting back.”

To read the full text of the Head Start mandate ruling, click HERE.

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