Wikimedia Commons by https://www.vperemen.com: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coronavirus_child_in_mask.jpg

Today, September 21, 2022, a federal judge in Lafayette, Louisiana ruled that the federal government cannot require Head Start, an educational facility typically for impoverished youth, to be vaccinated against COVID-19, nor can the federal government require a mask mandate. Earlier this week, AAN released an article about Ron DeSantis and his disagreements with impoverished pre-school-aged children being forced to wear masks two years after the onsight of the pandemic in the United States. The Federal judge’s ruling will apply to the children, as well as faculty and staff of Head Start.

In December 2021, teacher Sandy Brick filed a lawsuit in federal court Louisiana to stop the mandate and are represented by the national law firm Liberty Justice Center and the Louisiana-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy.

In the ruling permanently enjoining the vaccine and mask mandate in 24 states, U.S. District Court Judge Terry A. Doughty writes:

“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 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.”

The federal government must now decide whether to appeal the Western District ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that blocked the government’s vaccine mandate for private businesses.

The Head Start mandate was included in a package of COVID-related mandates announced on September 9, 2021, by President Biden. Also included in that announcement were five federal vaccine mandates, including the vaccine-or-test mandate that affected more than 80 million Americans who were privately employed. Liberty Justice Center and Pelican Institute attorneys sued the federal government to block that mandate, too. The mandate was blocked nationwide as a direct result of their lawsuit on behalf of Louisiana business owner Brandon Trosclair and six Texas CaptiveAire employees in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. It was ultimately blocked permanently by the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13, 2022.

While the ruling can be overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, President Biden came out earlier this week and said that the pandemic phase of COVID-19 is over. This may create pressure not to overturn the ruling due to Democrats possibly not pushing too hard for the ruling to be overturned right before the midterms. As anyone would assume, forcing impoverished 3-year-olds to wear masks all day while nearly no one else has to would be a disastrous look for the Democrats, and no notable Republicans are pushing for masking this far along into the COVID-19 pandemic.




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