Texas AG Paxton Sues over Vaccine Mandate for Texas National Guard

Texas AG Paxton Sues over Vaccine Mandate for Texas National Guard
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton. | Image from Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Governor Greg Abbott sued the federal government on Tuesday over the vaccine mandate for the Texas National Guard.

“This is one of the many examples of federal overreach by the Biden Administration that my office is adamantly fighting against,” said Paxton. “Now this Administration plans to exacerbate the border crisis by taking out the very people defending Texas – the state that he abandoned and left bearing the costs and consequences of his decisions.”

Governor Abbott wrote a letter to Major General Tracy Norris, commander of the Texas Military Department. He explained that he would not tolerate efforts made by the Biden Administration to compel members to show proof of vaccination. He stated that he would not be “commandeered into doing the federal government’s work” as the commander-in-chief of Texas’ Guard members.

“Although my order has been in effect for months now, President Biden has muddied the waters with a vaccine mandate from the U.S. Department of Defense,” Abbott said in the letter.

According to the federal statute of Title 10, the President can mobilize the Guard and therefore place those members under federal authority. However, Abbott argues that he maintains authority due to Title 32 of the U.S. Code, which says that the state controls the Guard unless called upon by the federal government.

The U.S. Department of the Defense argues that Guardsmen must follow the federal mandate since they are federally funded for training and education.

In August of this year, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a statement directing all members of the U.S. military to be vaccinated, including the National Guard.

In the memo, Austin wrote, “To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force. After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people. Mandatory vaccinations are familiar to all of our Service members, and mission-critical inoculation is almost as old as the U.S. military itself. Our administration of safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines has produced admirable results to date, and I know the Department of Defense will come together to finish the job, with urgency, professionalism, and compassion.”

The following November, Austin outlined the impact that non-compliance would have on military members, stating that unvaccinated soldiers will not be paid using federal defense money, nor will they be able to participate in training, drill, or other duties.

The lawsuit that Paxton and Abbott have filed is not the first one this year. Last month, Paxton sued to prevent the Biden administration from imposing a vaccine mandate on employees of Medicaid and Medicare providers and suppliers.

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