On Thursday, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) announced that his state would be joining a lawsuit, originally filed earlier this month by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas), against the Biden Administration for its mandate requiring vaccinations for all members of the National Guard.
Fox News reports that the lawsuit seeks to challenge the constitutionality of Biden’s mandate by claiming that it violates the sovereignty of the states and the state governors over their control of their respective National Guard units.
“This is not a case demanding a position of pro- or anti-vaccine, nor is it a case that challenges any aspect of the federal government’s authority over National Guardsmen once that federal authority has been properly established,” the lawsuit explains. “Instead, this case seeks to have federal action combined within federal authority, prohibiting the federal government’s unconstitutional attempt to force Texas and Alaska, through their governors, to submit to federal orders and impose federally dictated disciplinary action on their National Guardsmen.”
In his statement announcing Alaska’s joining of the effort, Governor Dunleavy declared that “protecting the freedom and liberty of National Guard members has fallen on responsible governors.”
“The federal government has no authority to make health decisions for National Guard members who are at work under state authority,” Dunleavy continued. “I pledge to protect that medical freedom and to challenge the trampling of our state’s rights under the 10th Amendment.”
There have already been previous efforts to block the National Guard mandate, with no success. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) filed a similar lawsuit back in December, only for a federal judge to rule later that month that the final authority on the National Guard came from the federal government, not the state government. The judge, District Judge Stephen Friot, claimed that Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which puts the National Guard under the control of the federal government, overruled Title 32, which initially gives state governors control over their state’s National Guard.
Nevertheless, multiple governors since then have tried on their own to block the mandate. A group of six governors sent a letter to the Pentagon in December demanding that the mandate be rescinded: Abbott, Dunleavy, Mark Gordon (R-Wyo.), Tate Reeves (R-Miss.), Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa), and Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.). Abbott ultimately filed his lawsuit in early January.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin first ordered all members of the United States armed services to be vaccinated on August 25th, 2021. However, the final deadlines for vaccination vary from branch to branch. The current deadline for the Army National Guard to be fully vaccinated is June 30th, 2022.