Several U.S. states on Friday mounted multiple federal lawsuits against the Biden administration over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers and contractors.
Texas sued individually in a federal court in Galveston. Another lawsuit, filed in a federal district court in Missouri involves Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Yet another lawsuit, filed in a federal district court in Georgia, involves Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia.
The lawsuits come a day after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he sued the administration over the same vaccine mandate. As of late Friday, the total number of states suing the Biden administration over the mandate is 19.
President Joe Biden on Sept. 9 issued a far-reaching executive order that requires almost all federal employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, including civilian federal employees and contractors. The order goes into effect on Dec. 8. Regular COVID-19 testing isn’t an option, but religious or medical exemptions from vaccination may be granted, according to the order. Contractors that don’t comply may lose out on government contracts.
The Biden administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Texas complaint (pdf), filed in a federal court in Galveston, asks the court to declare Biden’s vaccine mandate unlawful and to issue preliminary and injunctive relief to block it from being enforced.
“The Biden Administration has repeatedly expressed its disdain for Americans who choose not to get a vaccine, and it has committed repeated and abusive federal overreach to force upon Americans something they do not want,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement Friday. “The federal government does not have the ability to strip individuals of their choice to get a vaccine or not. If the President thinks his patience is wearing thin, he is clearly underestimating the lack of patience from Texans whose rights he is infringing.”