The nationwide fight over forced vaccinations continues in a U.S. district court in East Texas.

On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden to stop him from forcing the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard to get injected with coronavirus vaccinations.

“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,” Paxton’s office wrote in a press release. “President Biden is not those troops’ commander-in-chief; Governor Abbott is.”

The issue traces back to last year, when Biden administration officials decreed various coronavirus vaccine mandates for federal contractors, armed forces, and employers with more than 100 employees. While those orders have since been tied up in the courts, the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature declined to pass a state law prohibiting such forced injections on citizens.

In August, Gov. Greg Abbott dictated his own executive order purporting to stop the mandates in the state. Last month, however, Texas Scorecard reported service members in both the Texas Army and Air National Guards were being forced to get injected or face loss of pay and discharge from their duties.

Texas Scorecard also previously detailed the timeline of events in that situation and the inaction of top state officials, including Abbott. ​​The governor and Republican state leadership have maintained the position that the executive orders are enough to prohibit such mandates, but they are waiting on the judiciary to rule on the issue, essentially abdicating their own responsibility to create law.

Paxton’s lawsuit now seeks to intervene.

“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 reads. “Instead, this case seeks protection from the federal government’s unconstitutional action to force Texas, through its Governor, to submit to federal orders and impose federally dictated disciplinary action on its National Guardsmen.”

“This is one of the many examples of federal overreach by the Biden Administration that my office is adamantly fighting against,” Paxton said. “Now this Administration plans to exacerbate the border crisis by taking out the very people defending Texas—the state that he abandoned and left bearing the costs and consequences of his decisions.”

Additionally, Abbott wrote a letter on Tuesday to the Texas Military Department’s Adjutant General Tracy R. Norris, urging them not to punish guardsmen who reject a COVID vaccine. 

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.