LAFAYETTE, Louisiana (LifeSiteNews) — A federal judge in Louisiana struck down the Biden administration’s school mask and vaccine mandate for Head Start volunteers and staff on Wednesday, arguing that the public’s “liberty interest” supersedes “any interest generated by the mandatory administration of vaccines.”’
The victory for personal freedom comes after Head Start teachers Sandy Brick and Jessica Trenn filed a lawsuit against the federal government in December 2021 with representation from the Liberty Justice Center and the Louisiana-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy.
In the Wednesday decision, U.S. District Court Judge Terry A. Doughty ruled in favor of the teachers, permanently enjoining the federal mandates across 24 states, the Liberty Justice Center said in a press release.
The ruling will impact roughly 280,000 Head Start employees and volunteers who will no longer be forced to choose between getting the COVID-19 shot and losing their jobs. Students or adults will also no longer be required to wear masks.
“Today, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled that the federal government cannot require Head Start program teachers, staff and volunteers be vaccinated against COVID-19, nor can they require that adults and students wear masks.”
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) September 21, 2022
“The public interest is served by maintaining the constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals who do not want to take the COVID-19 vaccine,” Doughty wrote in ruling, adding that the public interest “outweighs” the interests of the federal government.
“The public has a liberty interest in not being required to take a vaccine or be fired from their jobs. The public interest must be taken into account before allowing Agency Defendants to mandate vaccines,” he continued. “Although vaccines arguably serve the public interest, the liberty interests of individuals mandated to take the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any interest generated by the mandatory administration of vaccines.”
According to Doughty, the federal government is not likely to find success in appealing the ruling.
The district judge noted that the “federal government must now decide whether to appeal the Western District ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals,” pointing out that the Fifth Circuit was “the same court that blocked the government’s vaccine mandate for private businesses.”
The Head Start mandate overturned Wednesday was part of a package of COVID-related mandates announced by U.S. President Joe Biden in September 2021, including the highly controversial OSHA mandate that would have required some 80 million Americans to get the jab as a condition of employment. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the OSHA mandate in a 6-3 ruling in January 2022.
Daniel Suhr, managing attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, said in the press release that despite the fact that “President Biden recently declared that the ‘pandemic is over,’ the fight to restore Americans’ individual liberties is not.”
“We will continue to fight for teachers like Sandy and the low-income students they serve until every illegal and unjustified mandate is wiped from the books,” Suhr said. “Today’s decision is a significant step toward undoing the injustice perpetrated against everyday Americans throughout the COVID-19 crisis.”
Suhr’s remark citing Biden’s statement about the COVID-19 pandemic was in reference to the president’s impromptu declaration during a recent 60 Minutes interview.
Biden’s comment declaring the “pandemic is over” sparked furor in the legacy media and the World Health Organization (WHO), as establishment figures argued the pandemic is not over and that Biden’s off-the-cuff remark damaged efforts to secure additional COVID funding.
Conversely, others argued that Biden was right to say the pandemic has run its course, calling on the president to roll back “emergency” mandates and other decisions implemented in light of the allegedly ongoing public health crisis.
The Biden administration has since walked back the president’s remarks.