By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill has joined a 10-state coalition led by Missouri in filing a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s administration for his proposed coronavirus vaccine mandates.
Gov. Mark Gordon’s office announced the move on Friday.
The lawsuit challenges the Biden administration’s use of federal procurement statutes to mandate vaccinations through Executive Order 14042.
“This vaccine mandate for federal contractors is a clear example of the extreme federal overreach that Wyoming must put an end to,” Gordon said in a prepared statement. “Today, as promised, we take action as a broad coalition of which General Hill is proud to be a part. We are committed to defend the interests of Wyoming’s people and protect them from further federal intrusion into our lives.”
The lawsuit incorporates 12 counts and alleges that the Sept. 9 executive order enacted by the Biden administration usurps the states’ police powers, usurps states’ rights in violation fo the U.S. Constitution, violates the Procurement Act, violates the Administrative Procedures Act, and is an unconstitutional exercise of spending power.
Speaking about how the vaccine mandate violates the Procurement Act, the lawsuit states, “Far from increasing economy and efficiency in procurement, the contractor vaccine mandate will cause large-scale resignations of unvaccinated employees of federal contractors. These disruptive consequences will directly oppose both ‘economy’ and ‘efficiency’ of the marketplace.”
The lawsuit also takes issue with the scope of the mandate stating that, “On its face, the contractor vaccine mandate therefore applies to any employee of a contractor or subcontractor who is a party to a federal contract, even if the work they do is wholly unrelated to the contract, and even if it is not certain they will ever be working in a location with an employee who is actually working on a federal contract.”
In addition, the lawsuit states that the vaccine mandate is unconstitutional, arguing, “Defendants, through their vaccine mandate, have exercised power far beyond what was delegated to the federal government by constitutional mandate or congressional action. Neither Article II of the U.S. Constitution nor any act of Congress authorizes defendants to implement their vaccine mandate. The power to impose vaccine mandates, to the extent that any such power exists, is a power reserved to the States.”
The lawsuit asks the court to declare the vaccine mandate unlawful and enjoin defendants from enforcing the vaccine mandate.
Joining Wyoming and Missouri in the lawsuit are attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Wyoming’s involvement in the lawsuit is part of a two-pronged approach taken by the state to battle the federal mandate.
The Legislature will continue its special session — the second prong — next week to review legislation aimed at reducing the impact of the mandate.