Judge Blocks State Trying To Stop Vaccine Mandates Among Troops

(PatrioticPost.com)- The Department of Defense is allowed to enforce a vaccine mandate on all members of the National Guard, following a decision in district court this week.

On Tuesday, Judge Stephen Friot denied a motion by the state of Oklahoma requesting he block the DOD’s vaccine mandate from going into effect. Oklahoma had filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

In issuing his ruling, Friot said:

“The court is required to decide this case on the basis of federal law, not common sense. But, either way, the result would be the same. The claims asserted by the Governor and his co-plaintiffs are without merit.”

One thing Friot did do is say that the DOD should give guard members a grace period during which they would be able to comply with the federal mandate. As he added to his ruling:

“The court strongly urges the defendants to give every consideration to providing a brief grace period — to facilitate prompt compliance with the vaccination mandate — before directly or indirectly taking action which would end the military careers of any Oklahoma Guard members.”

Despite being under the authority of both the federal and state governments, Friot ruled that the matter in this case was subject to federal law. Title 10 places control of the National Guard with the federal government, which in this case supersedes the power given to the state government to oversee the National Guard through Title 32.

In early December, this lawsuit was initiated by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt along with John O’Connor, the state’s attorney general. It was initiated not long after Lloyd Austin, the national defense secretary, denied a request by the governor to exempt members of the Oklahoma National Guard from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

As a result, they sued the DOD to try to force the exemption.

The suit was an interesting one, as it pitted Title 10 and Title 32 against each other, and sought to make a final determination as to where the authority to run the National Guard ultimately lay.

Following Fiot’s decision, O’Connor’s office emailed a statement that said:

“We expect the Biden administration to review in good faith all exemptions and religious accommodations requested by our fellow Oklahomans. We will not be surprised if the President’s vaccine mandate actually reduces the nation’s military readiness instead of promoting it.

“We are analyzing the State’s response to this decision.”

It’s possible that Oklahoma could push forward in the case, filing a full appeal instead of just a request for a temporary injunction. That would bring the case up a notch, and force a wider examination of who holds authority over the National Guard.

For now, all members of every branch of the U.S. military as well as members of the National Guard must be fully vaccinated. Members of the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard had to be vaccinated by December 2.

Members of the Army National Guard have a deadline of June 30, 2022, to be in full compliance.