ttorney General Todd Rokita today helped lead a lawsuit with 23 other states against the Biden administration over unlawful mask and vaccine mandates applying to all preschool programs funded by the federal Head Start program.
The mask requirement applies to children as young as 2 years old. The COVID-19 vaccine requirement applies to staff and volunteers.
“This mandate is absolute lunacy,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Forcing masks on 2-year-olds and expecting them to be capable of complying with such an order is absurd. Unfortunately, it’s also exactly the sort of edict we’ve come to expect from leftist demagogues in places of power.”
Enacting it as a rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Biden administration bypassed standard notice-and-comment procedures in order to foist its preschool mandate onto the nation.
Not only is this latest mandate unlawful and draconian, Attorney General Rokita said, but it’s also completely impracticable.
“Neither the leftist leaders nor their bureaucrats seem to notice nor care that their administration’s first three vaccine mandates drew sharp rebukes from Americans nationwide and even federal court orders to halt their enforcement,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Rather than learn any lessons, they have now issued this fourth mandate, which might be the most ridiculous yet.”
As stated in the lawsuit, even the World Health Organization has concluded that “based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask,” “children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks.”
Earlier this fall, Attorney General Rokita also filed lawsuits against the Biden administration’s first three mandates — an executive order applying to federal contractors; an OSHA rule applying to private employers with 100 or more employees; and a U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rule applying to health care facilities receiving federal funds.
“Hoosiers, in particular, will not passively accept the trampling of our liberties,” Attorney General Rokita said. “That’s just not how we are wired. So just as with the first three mandates, we are fighting tooth and nail to protect Hoosiers’ individual rights.”
Head Start is a federal grant program geared to helping infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children from low-income families prepare for the K-12 school experience. Head Start programs are available at no cost to children ages birth to 5.
By forcing vaccinations on staff members (including volunteers) and masks on everyone age 2 and up, with few exceptions, this mandate undoubtedly would prompt many staff members to leave their jobs and result in program closures or shrinkage. Such effects would inflict direct harms on states such as Indiana and run counter to the expressed goals of the Head Start program.
The 24-state complaint against the Biden administration, which is led by Louisiana, is attached, along with a memorandum in support of a preliminary injunction.