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3 Dec, 2021 02:33

Oklahoma sues Biden & Pentagon over vaccine mandate

Oklahoma sues Biden & Pentagon over vaccine mandate

The Oklahoma government has sued the Joe Biden administration over its Covid-19 vaccine mandate for the military, deeming the order unconstitutional while asking the court to block its enforcement.

A complaint filed on Thursday by Oklahoma named President Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and a long list of federal officials and agencies as defendants, arguing that the vaccine mandate, namely for the state’s National Guard branch, violates the US Constitution and has no legal basis. 

“The president unilaterally has issued this diktat without any semblance of a congressional authorization,” state officials said, adding that none of the statutory provisions invoked in Biden’s executive order “even remotely empower the president to issue a vaccine mandate or, really, a mandate of any kind.”

A matter of such vast political and economic significance as this vaccine mandate requires explicit congressional authorization. Congress has provided no such express authorization.

Moreover, the complaint goes on to state that, by seeking to strip the Oklahoma National Guard of federal funding over non-compliance with the vaccine requirement, the Biden administration “is trying to disarm the State of Oklahoma from protecting itself, its territory, and its citizens.”

“This mandate ensures that many Oklahoma National Guard members will simply quit instead of getting the vaccine, a situation that will irreparably harm Oklahomans’ safety and security,” it continued.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt previously sought an exemption from the immunization rule, but was rejected by the Pentagon, with Secretary Austin warning that troops’ continued refusal to be vaccinated “may lead to a prohibition on the member’s participation in drills and training” and could “jeopardize the member’s status in the National Guard.” The request came after the Oklahoma Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Thomas Mancino, told his own soldiers that they would face no consequences for dodging the jab, kicking off a battle with the federal government which will soon be heard in court. 

More than a dozen other states have also challenged various aspects of the multi-faceted vaccine mandate, which applies to federal workers and contractors, military personnel, as well as all employees at companies with more than 100 workers, among other sectors. The latter requirement for businesses, which was to be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has been rejected in the courts, though the Justice Department is now seeking to reverse the decision.

READ MORE: Pentagon responds to Oklahoma National Guard’s vaccine exemption request