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The ruling in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas Amarillo Division issued Wednesday granted Texas a preliminary injunction against a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule mandating healthcare workers in facilities who are federally funded by Medicare and Medicaid to take the coronavirus vaccine.
LONGWOOD, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES – 2021/08/09: A nurse gives a girl a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
“A federal agency has no power to act absent Congressional power conferring it such authority,” the ruling from Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, reads. “The APA requires courts to ‘hold unlawful and set aside agency action’ found to be ‘in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, or short of statutory right.’ 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A), (C). Therefore, ‘to permit an agency to expand its power in the face of a congressional limitation on its jurisdiction would be to grant the agency power to override Congress.’”
The ruling states that Biden’s HHS justified the vaccine mandate using sections of the Social Security act that don’t pertain to vaccines.
“Sections 1102 and 1871 of the SSA give the HHS Secretary authority to make rules to ensure the efficient administration of programs ‘of the functions with which each is charged’ and as ‘may be necessary to carry out the administration of the insurance programs’ 42 U.S.C. § 1302; 42 U.S.C. § 1395hh,” the ruling says. “However, in neither statutory provision did Congress speak directly to the precise question at issue. Defendants rely upon sections that do not mention vaccines, let alone health or safety.”
Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Sunday, July 11, 2021. The three-day conference is titled “America UnCanceled.” Photographer: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images (Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“Mandating facility standards is drastically different from mandating who a healthcare provider hires or fires,” the ruling adds.
Healthcare workers losing their jobs over the coronavirus vaccine was the basis for filing the lawsuit in the first place, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says.
“The impetus was protecting those involved in health care related to Medicaid and Medicare funding, so they wouldn’t have to make a choice with a gun to their head deciding between their jobs and their health,” Paxton told Fox News following the ruling.
Paxton says the decision to be vaccinated should be between people and their doctors and not dictated by the federal government.
The court victory for Texas hands the Biden administration the latest in a string of losses in its attempt to implement vaccine mandates in workplaces across the country.
Last month, Biden’s Department of Justice said it will “vigorously defend” the guidelines laid out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) aimed at enforcing vaccine requirements on all businesses with 100 employees after the plan was blocked by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last week that the administration remains “confident” in its ability to legally enforce the mandates across the country.
President Biden speaks about the COVID-19 variant named omicron, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in Washington. as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases listens. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
“The reason they think they’re fundamentally sound is because they don’t view following federal law as a requirement for them,” Paxton told Fox News. “They think that because he’s president they don’t have to follow the law. Well, that’s the way the Constitution was set up if they pass a law we all have to follow it so he is subject to the same laws as everybody else.”
Paxton continued, “He can’t just say look here’s the federal law I’m just going to change it. That’s how monarchies work in communist countries but free countries have checks and balances and the legislature with elected representatives pass those laws. He has to follow those laws he can’t just change them. Many other countries do operate the way he’s trying to operate but not here in America.”