U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty struck down President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers earlier this week, representing another setback to the government’s efforts to compel vaccination.
In a memorandum ruling issued on Tuesday, Doughty signed a preliminary injunction preventing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from requiring vaccination of healthcare workers. After Biden’s mandate, CMS rolled out the vaccination rule for all health care companies receiving Medicaid and/or Medicare funding.
Doughty, of Rayville, was appointed by former President Donald Trump as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit forbade the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from enforcing any vaccine implementation among large private employers.
State Attorney General Jeff Landry said Doughty’s ruling would protect full-time employees, part-time employees, volunteers, and contractors working at health care companies.
“I applaud Judge Doughty for recognizing that Louisiana is likely to succeed on the merits and for delivering yet another victory for the medical freedom of Americans,” said Landry. “While Joe Biden villainizes our healthcare heroes with his ‘jab or job’ edicts, I will continue to stand up to the President’s bully tactics and fight for liberty.”
Landry was one of 14 attorney generals challenging the CMS vaccine mandate.
In his ruling, Doughty said he expected his preliminary injunction would be challenged in appellate court.
“This matter will ultimately be decided by a higher court than this one,” stated Doughty’s ruling. “However, it is important to preserve the status quo in this case. The liberty interests of the unvaccinated requires nothing less.”
Under the CMS vaccine mandate, more than 10.3 million healthcare workers would have needed to be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine by January 2022.
CMS argued its vaccine mandate complemented the rule issued by OSHA for private employers.
In Doughty’s ruling, he noted Biden’s position, as president-elect, that vaccines should not be mandatory.
“On September 9, 2021, President Biden changed his mind announcing his intention to impose a national mandate,” stated Doughty’s ruling.
According to Doughty, CMS took two months to prepare its vaccine rule, though it bypassed normal requirements for posting notices and seeking comments.
“It took CMS longer to prepare the interim final rule without notice than it would have taken to comply with the notice and comment requirement,” stated Doughty’s ruling. “Notice and comment would have allowed others to comment upon the need for such drastic action before its implementation.
According to Doughty, human nature and history showed civil liberties faced grave risks when governments established indefinite states of emergency.