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Federal Judge, Terry A. Doughty, in the U.S. District Court in Louisiana ruled on Wednesday that the federal government cannot require Head Start program teachers, staff, or volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to wear masks.
Doughty's order "permanently enjoins the vaccine and mask mandate in 24 states," a release from the Liberty Justice Center reads.
This impacts 280,000 teachers, staff, and volunteers.
In his ruling, Doughty wrote, "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 public has a liberty interest in not being required to take a vaccine or be fired from their jobs. The public interest must be considered 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."
The government has an option to appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Western District; the same court blocked the government's vaccine mandate for private businesses, the release says.
"Although President Biden recently declared that the 'pandemic is over,' the fight to restore Americans' individual liberties is not," Liberty Justice Center attorney Daniel Suhr said in the release. "We will continue to fight for teachers like Sandy and the low-income students they serve until every illegal and unjustified mandate is wiped from the books. Today's decision is a significant step toward undoing the injustice perpetrated against everyday Americans throughout the COVID-19 crisis."
The states affected include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
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