A US court in Louisiana blocked the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all healthcare employees on Monday. Judge Terry Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana stated in the ruling that the plaintiff state’s motion to halt the mandate implementation is granted.
“Therefore, the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, along with their directors, employees, Administrators and Secretaries are hereby ENJOINED and RESTRAINED from implementing the CMS Mandate as to all healthcare providers, suppliers, owners, employees, and all others covered by said CMS Mandate,” the document reads.
In the ruling, the judge wrote that “If the separation of powers meant anything to the Constitutional framers, it meant that the three necessary ingredients to deprive a person of liberty or property – the power to make rules, to enforce them, and to judge their violations – could never fall into the same hands.”
In his decision, Doughty argued that the Biden administration lacked the constitutional authority to bypass Congress by issuing such a mandate.
“If the executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the legislative branch to make laws, two of the three powers conferred by our Constitution would be in the same hands,” Doughty stated. “If human nature and history teach anything, it is that civil liberties face grave risks when governments proclaim indefinite states of emergency.”
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According to the judge, in the current pandemic, it is important to maintain the separation of powers in order to “avoid the erosion of our liberties.” And because the states which filed lawsuits in the first place “have satisfied all four elements required for a preliminary injunction to issue,” the WDLA court ruled that “a preliminary injunction should be issued against the Government Defendants.”
“This matter will ultimately be decided by a higher court than this one,” Doughty stressed. “However, it is important to preserve the status quo in this case. The liberty interests of the unvaccinated requires nothing less.”
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He also noted that a national injunction was required because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Mandate was national in scope and “uniformity” was needed.
“Therefore, the scope of this injunction will be nationwide, except for the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, since these ten states are already under a preliminary injunction order dated November 29, 2021, out of the Eastern District of Missouri,” Doughty ruled. “This preliminary injunction shall remain in effect pending the final resolution of this case,or until further orders from this Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, or the United States Supreme Court.”
The verdict was applauded by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who criticized Biden for “villainizing” the US healthcare heroes with his “jab or job” edicts. “I applaud Judge Doughty for recognizing that Louisiana is likely to succeed on the merits and for delivering yet another victory for the medical freedom of Americans,” said Landry. “While Joe Biden villainizes our healthcare heroes with his ‘jab or job’ edicts, I will continue to stand up to the President’s bully tactics and fight for liberty.“
Doughty’s decision follows a similar one issued by US District Judge Matthew Schelp of Missouri on Monday, but Schelp’s order only applied to ten states.
According to the regulation issued by the Biden administration, medical staff in facilities operating under Medicare and Medicaid programs were required to be fully vaccinated by 4 January next year.
A federal judge of the Eastern District of Missouri on Monday temporarily halted the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in ten states, according to court documents obtained by Business Insider.
The states of Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota had earlier initiated legal action against the Biden administration, claiming the regulation is unconstitutional.
“For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction is granted,” Judge Matthew Schelp from the US district court for the Eastern District of Missouri said in the order related to the lawsuit filed by the aforementioned US states.
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The court ordered the defendants to immediately cease all implementation or enforcement of the mandate with Comment Period as to any Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers within those 10 states. The judge also said that defendants are preliminarily enjoined from the implementation and enforcement of the mandate.
Judge Matthew Schelp, nominated in 2019 by former President Donald Trump, said that workers would benefit from his decision “because it would ensure that federal agencies do not extend their power beyond the express delegation from Congress.”
He added that mandatory vaccination would harm “the ability of healthcare facilities to provide proper care, and thus, save lives.”
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On November 4, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period that requires nearly every employee, volunteer, and third-party contractor working at 15 categories of healthcare facilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the court filing said. The mandate, which was announced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requires either COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing, and also workplace masking by January 4.
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The vaccine mandate is facing lawsuits in a number of states, which claim that the president overstepped his authority because the US Constitution requires approval by Congress for such a measure.