A U.S. District Court judge blocked President Joe Biden’s attempt to impose a vax mandate on healthcare workers across ten states, including Alaska. The injunction was hailed as victory for the states that sued to block the coercive measure.
Plaintiffs argued that the mandate was unconstitutional under the 10th amendment, while also violating several other federal laws.
“Millions of Americans are welcoming the federal court’s decision to pause an unconstitutional action by the Biden Administration that is really the definition of federal overreach,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy stated on Nov. 29. “My administration will continue to fight for the right of all Alaskans to make their own choices about medical care without unnecessary intrusion from the government.”
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had ordered many healthcare providers to force their employees to take the COVID jabs or else risk losing federal Medicare and Medicaid funding. The mandate required nearly every employee, volunteer, and third-party contractor to get their first COVID injection before Dec. 6. The mandate would have impacted some 10.3 million Americans.
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“The federal government’s strong-arm tactics could have severe impacts on our already stretched health care system, especially in rural Alaska,” said State Attorney General Treg Taylor. “This kind of overreach into the personal, medical freedoms of the people of Alaska couldn’t go unchallenged. We will continue working to stop these unconstitutional mandates, whether for our healthcare workers, federal contractors or private employers.”
In issuing his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Schelp said CMS does not have the legal authority to enact a large-scale vaccine mandate on hospital workers. He wrote that the plaintiffs are “likely to succeed in their argument” because “Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate, which Supreme Court precedent requires.”
The court ruling is only applicable in Alaska and the nine other states participating in the suit. It is a temporary measure as the court case makes its way through the legal system.