Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Friday that a federal judge in Texas blocked a federal mask and vaccine mandate implemented by President Joe Biden's administration for the Head Start program.
"I just halted another illegal federal vaccine and mask mandate," Paxton posted on Twitter Friday.
"Thanks to my suit (first of its kind in the nation), (President Biden) is barred from using the Head Start Program to force vaccines and masks in Texas—both of which this administration embarrassingly admitted don’t stop Covid anyway! HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
Head Start is a school-readiness program for infants, toddlers and pre-school children in low-income families.
Lubbock Independent School District (ISD) and Paxton in a Dec. 10 lawsuit argued that the program is harmed by mask mandates and vaccine mandates.
On Friday, federal judge James "Wesley" Hendrix of the U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas issued an order halting the implementation of the mandate, which also provides the conditions for federal funding of the program, Fox News reported.
"The agency’s rule requires Head Start staff to be vaccinated and near universal masking of children and adults," an opinion from the court states. "It is undisputed that an agency cannot act without congressional authorization. Thus, the question here is whether Congress authorized HHS to impose these requirements."
Paxton said the rules are unconstitutional, and parents should be the ones to make these decisions.
"We didn't think that was right," Paxton told Fox News. "We thought that was a parental choice, not a Joe Biden choice, so we sued them, arguing that he didn't have the authority – statutory or constitutional – to do this. I think parents are going to be glad they get to make the decision. This is a victory for freedom in America."
Hendrix in his opinion wrote that the federal Health and Human Services agency making the regulations cannot act without Congressional approval, and that the legislative body would need to authorize such requirements.
Because the COVID-19 mandates do not follow the Administrative Procedure Act, the court found them to be "arbitrary and capricious" and not included in the agency’s authorizing text to be implemented.
Another 25 states announced similar suits over the mandates in the Head Start program, Fox News reported.
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