A Louisiana federal judge ruled on Saturday that President Joe Biden can no longer require teachers in the Head Start early education program to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The verdict is a win for the 24 states that sued the federal government over the measure.
According the U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, the Biden administration unlawfully bypassed Congress with his order that workers in Head Start programs were required to be vaccinated by January 31. That order also included the mandate that all students 2 years or older be masked while indoors or in close contact outdoors.
Doughty, who is an appointee of former President Donald Trump, added that the separation of powers is crucial to the country’s founding. He quoted former President Ronald Reagan: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
Head Start is a federally funded program that provides an educational setting for children under age 6 who are from low-income families. Doughty continued in his decision, “If the Executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the Legislative branch to make laws, then this country is no longer a democracy – it is a monarchy.”
The ruling made by Doughty is similar to a Texas ruling that was handed down on Friday, in which the Head Start mandate was also blocked by a federal judge.
Attorney General Marshall of Alabama, one of the states involved in the lawsuit, said, “This victory will help ensure that numerous Head Start programs will continue to operate rather than have to fire teachers and cut back services to children.”
He continued, “And this win will forestall the nonsensical and damaging practice of forcing masks on two-year-olds.” It has not been made clear whether the federal government would appeal the decision.
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