Movers and SHAKERS
Image: Judge Terry Doughty (USA Today Network Video)
Understanding the HealthCare Vaccine Mandate Injunction
Judge Terry A. Doughty, a federal Judge sitting in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, issued a NATIONWIDE injunction on President Biden's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers yesterday, November 30, 2021.
Some are heralding Judge Doughty a hero in the war waging worldwide between governments and those opposing mandatory vaccination.
The issue before the Louisiana Court was whether “the Plaintiff States” (fourteen U.S. states comprised of Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio) are entitled to a preliminary injunction against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate (“Mandate”) implemented by “the Government Defendants” (made up of Xavier Becerra, in his official capacity as Secretary of Health and Human Services, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“DHH”), Chiquita Brooks–Lasure, in her official capacity as Administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”)) on November 5, 2021. The Mandate requires the staff of twenty-one types of Medicare and Medicaid healthcare providers to receive one vaccine by December 6, 2021, and the second vaccine by January 4, 2022. The failure to comply can result in penalties up to and including “termination of the Medicare/Medicaid Provider Agreement.”
According to the CMS, the Mandate regulates over 10.3 million health care workers in the United States. Of those 10.3 million, 2.4 million healthcare workers are currently unvaccinated.
In his Memorandum Opinion, Judge Doughty noted that “[i]mplicit in determining whether a preliminary injunction should be granted is determining whether the Government Defendants have the statutory and/or constitutional authority” to implement the Mandate. The Judge ultimately concluded that the Biden administration does not have the constitutional authority to go around Congress by issuing such a mandate.
Doughty observed: “[i]f the executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the legislative branch to make laws, two of the three powers conferred by our Constitution would be in the same hands."
Quoting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court from October of this year, he stated: "[i]f human nature and history teach anything, it is that civil liberties face grave risks when governments proclaim indefinite states of emergency” before adding “[d]uring a pandemic such as this one, it is even more important to safeguard the separation of powers set forth in our Constitution to avoid erosion of our liberties."
Source: STATE OF LOUISIANA ET AL CASE NO. 3:21-CV-03970 MEMORANDUM RULING (page 8)
Acknowledging that “the matter will ultimately be decided by a higher court than this one," Doughty opined it is nonetheless ”important to preserve the status quo in this case. The liberty interests of the unvaccinated requires nothing less."
The matter is before the Louisiana federal District Court Judge as case State of Louisiana, et al. v. Xavier Becerra, et al. and involves fourteen states. Doughty’s ruling comes on the heels of a similar grant of a preliminary injunction by Judge Matthew Schlep in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in the matter State of Missouri, et al. v. Biden, Jr., et al. Schlep’s ruling was issued on November 29, 2021, the day before Doughty’s, and pertained to only ten states (Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming), but also temporarily halted the Biden administration’s implementation of the vaccine Mandate as to health care workers. Judge Doughty’s ruling is more far-reaching as it has nationwide impact, and intentionally so, as explained by Doughty:
"[D]ue to the nationwide scope of the…[M]andate, a nationwide injunction is necessary due to the need for uniformity…Although this Court considered limiting the injunction to the fourteen Plaintiff States, there are unvaccinated healthcare workers in other states who also need protection. Therefore, the scope of this injunction will be nationwide, except for the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota," since those states were already covered by Judge Schlep’s preliminary injunction.
Doughty concluded: "[t]his preliminary injunction shall remain in effect pending the final resolution of this case, or until further orders from this Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, or the United States Supreme Court."
Both cases are likely to be appealed.
About the Author:
Denese Venza, Esq. is an attorney and freelance writer licensed to practice in both state and federal courts in Florida and West Virginia. The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, is not legal advice, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.
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