The state of Oklahoma has sued the Biden administration over the Defense Department mandate forcing National Guard members to get the experimental COVID-19 vaccine, calling it an unconstitutional and dangerous overreach by the federal government.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday, seeks a temporary injunction and a permanent restraining order against the mandate. It also asks the court to block a threat by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to effectively withhold funding and salaries for the Oklahoma National Guard and Guard members in the state.
Secretary Austin ordered that all members of the National Guard and Reserve to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or facing loss of pay and being marked absent without cause from drills and training.
The suit intensifies the exceptional clashes of will between Pentagon leadership and states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Florida.
Governor Kevin Stitt (R) called foul on Austin’s demand was a “readiness issue” and that unvaccinated Guard members will be barred from the federally-funded training and drills they need to maintain their status in the Guard.
Oklahoma state Attorney General John O’Connor called the Biden Pentagon vaccine mandate “reckless and unlawful,” and warned it could affect public safety as well.
“Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate ensures that many Oklahoma National Guard members will simply quit instead of getting the vaccine, a situation that will irreparably harm Oklahomans’ safety and security,” O’Connor said in a statement announcing the lawsuit last Thursday. “These patriots, along with many federal employees who serve their country and their state, are now at risk of being terminated because they do not wish to take the vaccine.”
🔹The state of Oklahoma contends that the governor is the commander-in-chief of the Oklahoma National Guard so long as it is operating within the state and has not been mobilized by the president.
🔹State officials also argue that, unlike active-duty personnel, the burden of paying for health care associated with getting the vaccine must be borne by Guard members themselves.
“It is unconscionable that President Biden and his administration are choosing to play politics with military paychecks,” Stitt said, “especially amid the highest inflation rate in 30 years and so close to the holiday season. … I will continue fighting to protect Oklahoma against this alarming pattern of unconstitutional federal overreach coming from the Biden administration.”
More than 400,000 people serve in the National Guard. The Oklahoma National Guard has about 8,000 members.
Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino issued an order halting the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccine rollout on Nov. 11, 2021, less than 24 hours after his sudden appointment as the state’s top general. (Oklahoma National Guard)
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