Alaska joins Texas in lawsuit against Covid vaccine mandate for guardsmen

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The state of Alaska joined Texas in the latter’s lawsuit against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine mandate for National Guard members. The suit filed by the two Republican-led states argued that the federal government has no authority over guardsmen when they are serving their respective states.

Alaska Gov. Michael Dunleavy joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as a co-plaintiff in the latter’s suit. The Jan. 25 complaint was a revised version of a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General (AG) Ken Paxton earlier that month. Defendants in the two states’ lawsuit included President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall III and Army Secretary Christine Wormuth.

“There has long been a clear and distinct line between when National Guardsmen are governed by state authority and when they are governed by federal authority. When National Guardsmen are serving the state, the federal government has no command authority,” the lawsuit said.

“Neither the president nor federal military officials can order state governors or state officials how to govern the guardsmen under their command. Under the Constitution’s carefully crafted balance between federal and state sovereignty, only the states – through their governors – possess legal authority to govern state National Guard personnel who have not been lawfully federalized.”

The complaint by the two GOP governors accused the defendants of “unilaterally [severing] the division between state and federal authority … by attempting to impose a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy on guardsmen under state command.” It added: “Rather than exercise their own authority and lawfully activate the president’s chain of command, defendants have attempted to force state officers to do the work for them.”


The suit nevertheless reiterated that the situation “is not a case demanding a position of pro- or anti-vaccine.” Instead, it seeks to “have federal action cabined within federal authority” and bar the federal government’s attempt to force the two states to submit to federal orders. (Related: Texas Governor Greg Abbott to file suit to protect National Guard troops from Biden’s vaccine mandate.)

Vaccine mandate for guardsmen undermines readiness and public safety

Dunleavy’s office said in a release that the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate “usurps state sovereignty” and undermines the authority of governors as state National Guard commanders.

“Protecting the freedom and liberty of National Guard members has fallen on responsible governors. The federal government has no authority to make health decisions for National Guard members who are at work under state authority.”

The release added: “Our Alaska National Guard has recently responded to winter storm disasters in Yakutat, the Interior and the [Matanuska-Susitna Valley]. What happens in the next disaster if [guardsmen] can’t be activated because they chose not to get a federally mandated COVID vaccine?”

In a separate statement, Alaska AG Treg Taylor slammed the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate. He argued that the mandate for guardsmen “puts public safety and emergency response in jeopardy, while ignoring the governor’s authority.” Taylor represented Dunleavy in the Jan. 25 lawsuit.

“We rely on our National Guard to deploy during natural disasters and perform search-and-rescue operations. They keep Alaska safe and they are integral to protecting our state,” the Alaska AG said.

The Jan. 25 lawsuit filed by Texas and Alaska followed a December 2021 ruling that rejected the state of Oklahoma’s request to block the federal vaccine mandate. Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen P. Friot ruled on Dec. 28 that the complaint filed by Gov. Kevin Stitt, AG John O’Connor and 16 unnamed guardsmen was “without merit.”

Watch the video below of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott standing up to the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate.

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