Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, in accordance with orders from President Joe Biden, has imposed a strict COVID-19 vaccine mandate with limited exceptions for all members of all branches of the U.S. military, including all National Guard units serving at the state level.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday that intended to file a lawsuit against the Biden administration to block that mandate with respect to his state’s National Guard units, The Daily Wire reported.
Backing the troops
The announcement from Gov. Abbott came by way of a letter he sent to the Adjutant General of the Texas Military Department, Major General Tracy Norris, and revealed his plans to sue the federal government on behalf of any unvaccinated members of the Texas National Guard.
“As the commander-in-chief of Texas’s militia, I have issued a straightforward order to every member of the Texas National Guard within my chain of command: Do not punish any guardsman for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” Abbott wrote.
That order from Abbott had been issued several months ago but President Biden had “muddied the waters” with his military vaccine mandate, which compelled the governor to try and “clear up any confusion” members of the Texas Guard may have.
“Unless President Biden federalizes the Texas National Guard in accordance with Title 10 of the U.S. Code, he is not your commander-in-chief under our federal or state Constitutions,” the governor continued. “And as long as I am your commander-in-chief, I will not tolerate efforts to compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine. To the extent the DoD vaccine mandate conflicts with the order I have given, my order controls.”
“Must be held accountable”
Regardless of his stance, Gov. Abbott noted, however, that President Biden still posed a “career-ending threat” to unvaccinated Guard members by way of threats to bar those members from participating in drills or deployments and cut off their pay or discharge them, if not defund and decertify entire units as punishment.
“Let me be crystal clear: It is the federal government that has put Texas’s guardsmen in this difficult position,” he wrote. “As your commander-in-chief, I will fight on your behalf. That is why I am suing the Biden Administration over its latest unconstitutional vaccine mandate.”
The governor pointed out that the federal courts would have to decide whether Biden’s mandate undermined state sovereignty and that he “cannot guarantee” that the courts would rule in favor of the state. He also acknowledged that Biden could legally federalize any Texas National Guard unit, thus lawfully assuming the commander-in-chief role and rendering the whole thing a moot point.
“Win or lose, President Biden must be held accountable for his unconscionable willingness to hollow out the Texas National Guard. Please know that I am grateful for your service and will continue fighting on your behalf,” Abbott concluded.
One suit already rejected
Unfortunately, The Daily Wire noted that a similar legal challenge mounted by Oklahoma’s governor against the military vaccine mandate, as applied to his state’s Guard units, was just recently rejected by a federal court.
That federal judge had declared the arguments put forward by Oklahoma as being “without merit” and ultimately denied a request for a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the federal vaccine mandate for all members of the U.S. military, including National Guard units serving in a non-federal role at the state level.