Texas beats Biden admin again; federal court halts another vaccine mandate

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has once again beaten the Biden administration in federal court, winning an injunction against vaccine and masking mandates for Head Start programs.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge James “Wesley” Hendrix of the U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas, a Trump appointee, ordered a halt to COVID-19 mandates as a condition of funding for Head Start programs, leading Paxton to declare the ruling a “win for the children of Texas.”

The Biden administration issued the requirements last month, mandating that kids over the age of 2 enrolled in Head Start programs wear masks. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a requirement for staff, contractors, and volunteers to have a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this month.

“This is a win for the children of Texas for sure, given that parents should be making these decisions, not the Biden administration,” Paxton said in an interview with Fox News.

Paxton took to Twitter on New Year’s Eve to declare: “I just halted another illegal fed vax & mask mandate. Thanks to my suit(first of its kind in the nation), Prez Brandon is barred from using the Head Start Program to force vax & masks in TX—both of which this Admin embarrassingly admitted don’t stop Covid anyway! HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

“We didn’t think that was right,” Paxton told Fox News regarding the mandates issued by the administration. “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.”

“The agency’s rule requires Head Start staff to be vaccinated and near-universal masking of children and adults,” Hendrix wrote in his ruling. “It is undisputed that an agency cannot act without congressional authorization. Thus, the question here is whether Congress authorized HHS to impose these requirements.”

Hendrix also noted that he “concludes that there is a substantial likelihood that the mandates do not fit within the Head Start Act’s authorizing text, that HHS failed to follow the APA [Administrative Procedure Act] in promulgating the mandates and that the mandates are arbitrary and capricious.” As such, the court “preliminarily enjoins their enforcement in Texas.”

In response to a question over whether he expected backlash from political opponents, Paxton responded: “I think parents are going to be glad they get to make the decision. This is a victory for freedom in America.”

“Hopefully, the Biden administration will lay down their sword and stop jabbing at parents and kids and just let this thing stand,” Paxton went on before predicting: “I’m sure they won’t. … They think they should make the choice for these children and for these parents.”

GOP Gov. Greg Abbott also weighed in on the ruling.

“Texas just beat Biden again. Another of Biden’s vaccine & mask mandates was just halted by a federal judge in Texas,” he noted on Twitter.

Twenty-five states announced lawsuits last week against the Biden administration over the Head Start mandates, Fox News added.

Jon Dougherty


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