A Texas federal judge has blocked a program by Democrat President Joe Biden’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) that required children as young as two years old to wear masks.
HHS mandated that staff, volunteers, and all families taking part in its Head Start program must wear masks and be vaccinated against Covid.
The Head Start program is a federal early education program for low-income families with children up to 5 years old.
President Donald Trump-appointed Judge James Wesley Hendrix of the Northern District of Texas ruled that the HHS lacked the authority to mandate masks and Covid shots for any Head Start program.
Under Hendrix’s ruling, the HHS cannot enforce either mandate nationwide in its Head Start program.
The lawsuit against the HHS was filed by Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
“I’m proud to announce that the Biden Administration’s attempt to use the Head Start program to mask toddlers and force the vaccine on staff and volunteers has now been permanently defeated,” Paxton said in a press release.
“I have worked relentlessly to end Biden’s troubling policies of medical tyranny, especially his attempts to impose draconian interventions on our children, as well as his efforts to punish Americans who do not comply with his preferred medical treatments—many of which are arbitrary, ineffective and unjustified by the scientific evidence.”
In 2021, Paxton filed a lawsuit against the HHS alleging that the federal organization did not have the authority to impose such a mandate on the children, parents, and staff involved in the program.
A federal district judge granted Paxton a Texas-wide injunction against the program’s mandate in January 2022.
Because of the mask and COVID-19 mandates, Head Start directors saw a shortage in staff and students.
Hendrix’s ruling prohibits such a mandate from being implemented in the future.
“The wisdom of Head Start’s rule is not before the Court—only its legality,” Hendrix stated in his opinion.
“If the people, through Congress, wish to impose a vaccine mandate on Head Start programs, they may do so by passing a law.
“But an agency can do only what Congress authorizes it to do.
“Regardless of how well-intentioned, HHS’s attempt here to shoehorn the vaccine mandate into statutory language authorizing modification of Head Start’s administrative, financial, and facility-management standards goes too far.”
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