Gov, AG Sue Defense Dep't Over Vaccine 12/03 06:21
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma's Republican governor and the state attorney
general filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday, challenging the Defense
Department's COVID-19 vaccination mandate for the Oklahoma National Guard.
In a statement, Gov. Kevin Stitt argued that the Biden administration's
defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, overstepped his constitutional authority by
subjecting the National Guard to the mandate, which applies to active-duty
"This week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin declared his intention to
proceed with unconstitutional punishment that individually targets Oklahoma
National Guard soldiers and airmen, including withholding their pay," Stitt
The Pentagon couldn't immediately be reached for comment Thursday on the
Stitt had asked Austin to suspend the mandate for the Oklahoma National
Guard and directed his new adjutant general to assure members that they would
not be punished for not being vaccinated.
However, Austin rejected that exemption and said any National Guard members
not vaccinated against COVID-19 would be barred from federally funded drills
and training required to maintain their Guard status.
Stitt said that although National Guard members are paid by the federal
government, he remains their commander in chief under federal and state
constitutional and statutory law unless the president orders their mobilization.