Head Start COVID-19 vaccine mandate permanently blocked by judge

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Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 1:02 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A COVID-19 vaccine and mask requirement for Head Start programs has been permanently blocked by a U.S. judge.

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a federal judge issued a permanent injunction against the Head Start COVID-19 vaccine mandate which required all workers and volunteers to wear masks and be vaccinated against the virus.

AG Schmidt said that Judge Terry A. Daughty for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued the ruling in a lawsuit filed in December 2021 by 24 attorneys general to challenge the mandate.

Schmidt noted that the mandate, one of several one-size fits all responses by President Joe Biden’s Administration during the COVID-19 pandemic which required staff, volunteers and others who came into contact with Head Start students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It also required everyone aged 2 and up to wear a mask.

Schmidt had argued that by issuing the mandate, the Biden Administration exceed its authority granted by Congress.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the rule of law and for health care freedom,” Schmidt said. “We stood up and fought the Biden administration’s illegal mandates on behalf of Kansas kids, teachers and parents, and today we all won.”

In his ruling, Daughty said the issue comes down to separation of powers which “keeps the three branches equal. If one branch attempts to exceed its constitutional powers, it is the Judicial Branch’s duty to stop it.”

“The public interest is served by maintaining the constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals who do not want to take the COVID-19 vaccine. This interest outweighs Agency Defendants’ interests,” the judge wrote. “The public has a liberty interest in not being required to take a vaccine or be fired from their jobs. The public interest must be taken into account before allowing Agency Defendants to mandate vaccines. Although vaccines arguably serve the public interest, the liberty interests of individuals mandated to take the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any interest generated by the mandatory administration of vaccines.”

To read a copy of the full ruling, click HERE.