Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sues Biden administration over vaccine mandate for Texas National Guard

FILE - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a news conference along the Rio Grande, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. Political observers are watching whether Abbott will posthumously pardon George Floyd for a 2004 arrest before the end of the year. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File) (Julio Cortez, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sued the Biden administration over the vaccine mandate for the Texas National Guard.

Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton shared a copy of the lawsuit in a news release Tuesday that said, “Neither the president nor federal military officials can order the governor of Texas and non-federalized national guardsmen to comply with a vaccination mandate or to direct a particular disciplinary action for failure to comply. President Biden is not those troops’ commander-in-chief; Gov. (Greg) Abbott is.”

Word of the the suit came Tuesday from Abbott’s office. A letter said he planned to sue the federal government over the vaccine mandate.

“As the commander-in-chief of Texas’s militia, I have issued a straightforward order to every member of the Texas National Guard within my chain of command: Do not punish any guardsman for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” reads the letter. “Unless President Biden federalizes the Texas National Guard in accordance with Title 10 of the U.S. Code, he is not your commander-in-chief under our federal or state constitutions. And as long as I am your commander-in-chief, I will not tolerate efforts to compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine. Let me be crystal clear: It is the federal government that has put Texas’s guardsmen in this difficult position. As your commander-in-chief, I will fight on your behalf. That is why I am suing the Biden administration over its latest unconstitutional vaccine mandate.”

Read the full letter here (pdf).

Abbott’s office added that the governor sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last month saying the state will not enforce the vaccine mandate on members of the Texas National Guard.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.