Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon Rejects National Guard Vaccination Mandate |
Gov. Mark Gordon this week proposed to push back further federal vaccine orders, this time against efforts to require National Guard members to be vaccinated.
Gordon and four other Republican governors sent a letter to the US Secretary of Defense earlier this week, saying disciplinary guidelines for members of the National Guard who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and serve in a state capacity ” are beyond [the Secretaryâs] constitutional and statutory authority.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has repeatedly stated that obtaining the vaccine is essential in defending the nation. He has ruled that members of the Guard who refuse COVID-19 vaccinations will be barred from federally-funded exercises and training that are necessary to maintain their status as Guardians.
It is not known what percentage of Wyoming National Guard soldiers are vaccinated. The guard did not respond to a request for comment.
The Governors’ Letter calls on the Pentagon to “withdraw” the directive only for members of the Guard serving in a state capacity under 32 USC Title, not those serving the federal government. When members of the Guard are activated under Title 32, the state governor has been authorized by the president to mobilize the National Guard statewide.
Although these members of the Guard are under state control, they still receive a salary and benefits from the federal government.
“Under Title 32 service status, the Wyoming National Guard is under my command and control,” Gordon said in the statement. “These guidelines go against the authority of the federal government.”
The letter points out that the Supreme Court asserted “that the National Guard is under the command and control of the governor of each state, unless these members are called up to active service under Title 10”.
But it’s not that simple, according to a constitutional law expert.
âAustin has the power to impose these requirements, based on the authority delegated by Congress to the Defense Sec,â Adler said in a message. âCongress has plenary authority under Article 1 of the Constitution to ‘provide for the common defense’. In addition, section 1 of section 8 grants it broad powers to regulate the National Guard, as ruled by the Supreme Court. As a result, Congress has delegated the Defense SEC broad powers to develop regulations to ensure that the National Guard is properly qualified. “
Adler argues that Austin’s approach of denying members necessary training is a smart one.
“Since Covid could derail the training of the National Guard, making the Guard less able to provide for national defense in discharging its responsibilities, the sec may determine that vaccines are needed to promote good training,” he wrote.
Nebraska Governor Pete Rickett, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt joined Gordon in signing the letter. The full letter can be found here.
Branches of the U.S. military have started firing members and disciplining troops who refuse to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The Army recently said 98% of its active duty force received at least one hit, the Marine Corps said 95% of its force received a dose and about 97.5% of the Air Force and of the Space Force had received at least one blow. Over 98% of the Navy is fully vaccinated.
“If Governor Gordon wins and vaccines are not needed and therefore they contract Covid, members of the Guard will not be able to train and / or be able to deploy, compromising the defense. national, over which Congress governs and gives broad authority and responsibility to the direction of defense, âAdler said in a message.
Gordon is fighting vaccination mandates on other fronts.
A lawsuit filed in mid-November by a group of 10 state attorneys general, including Bridget Hill of Wyoming, sought to challenge the authority of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to enforce an ordered vaccination warrant by the Biden administration.
Later that month, a U.S. district court judge issued a preliminary injunction temporarily suspending warrant execution in Wyoming and the other nine states.
“This is good news for rural Wyoming health facilities, which are already facing staffing challenges without the federal government imposing additional unconstitutional charges on their employees,” Gordon said at the time. âHealthcare workers shouldn’t be forced to choose between vaccination and dismissal. “
The state is also courting the Biden administration’s vaccination warrants on federal contractors and private companies with 100 or more employees. Both terms are now suspended while the courts are to adjudicate.
Gordon announced in mid-November that he had signed House Bill 1002, which gives his office $ 4 million to spend on court challenges to COVID-19 vaccination warrants passed by the federal government. Beyond that, the bill includes a resolution on Wyoming’s rights in the face of federal vaccine mandates.
The bill came out of a special legislative session aimed at tackling vaccination warrants. The warrants sparked widespread outrage from the Wyoming Republican Party, which lobbied for the session before the end of the federal rule-making process on the ordinance.
The rules were published the day after the session ended.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.