A federal judge rejected an effort in Oklahoma to stop the vaccine mandate for the National Guard from taking effect.
Background: The Department of Defense previously announced a vaccine mandate for all military personnel, including the National Guard.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that military personnel would be required to receive both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by Dec. 2. Member of the National Guard still has until June 30 to comply with the order.
The order prompted Governor Kevin Stitt to ask Sec. Austin to exempt the Oklahoma National Guard from the order, which was then rejected.
The rejection prompted Gov. Stitt and Attorney General John O’Connor to sue the DOD over the mandate.
Key Details: The National Guard is under the dual authority of both the state and federal governments. While Title 32 of the U.S. code puts the guard under the governor’s control, Title 10 also places it under federal control.
What Happened: District Judge Stephen Friot denied the attempt to exempt the National Guard from the DOD’s vaccine mandate.
“The court is required to decide this case on the basis of federal law, not common sense. But, either way, the result would be the same,” Friot said in denying the state’s motion for a preliminary injunction. “The claims asserted by the Governor and his co-plaintiffs are without merit.” (per Newsmax)
What Republicans Say: AG O’Connor said in a statement that his office is extremely disappointed in the result.
“We expect the Biden administration to review in good faith all exemptions and religious accommodations requested by our fellow Oklahomans. We will not be surprised if the President’s vaccine mandate actually reduces the nation’s military readiness instead of promoting it. We are analyzing the State’s response to this decision,” the statement read.