Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton scored what he considered to be a "win for the children of Texas" after a federal judge ruled against vaccine and mask mandates for Head Start programs initiated by the Biden administration.
The new rules issued last month require children over 2 in Head Start programs to wear masks, while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is requiring staff, contractors and volunteers in the program to be vaccinated by the end of January.
"This is a win for the children of Texas for sure, given that parents should be making these decisions, not the Biden administration," Paxton told Fox News.
"We didn't think that was right," Paxton said of the rules implemented by the Biden administration. "We thought that was a parental choice, not a Joe Biden choice, so we sued them, arguing that he didn't have the authority – statutory or constitutional – to do this."
"The agency’s rule requires Head Start staff to be vaccinated and near universal masking of children and adults," an opinion from the court states. "It is undisputed that an agency cannot act without congressional authorization. Thus, the question here is whether Congress authorized HHS to impose these requirements."
Asked whether he expected backlash from opposition, Paxton said, "I think parents are going to be glad they get to make the decision. This is a victory for freedom in America."
"Hopefully, the Biden administration will lay down their sword and stop jabbing at parents and kids and just let this thing stand," Paxton added. "I'm sure they won't. … They think they should make the choice for these children and for these parents."
The court also noted that it "concludes that there is a substantial likelihood that the mandates do not fit within the Head Start Act’s authorizing text, that HHS failed to follow the APA in promulgating the mandates and that the mandates are arbitrary and capricious," and stated that it "preliminarily enjoins their enforcement in Texas."
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott celebrated the ruling on social media, tweeting: "Texas just beat Biden again. Another of Biden’s vaccine & mask mandates was just halted by a federal judge in Texas."
Last week, 25 states announced lawsuits against the Biden administration over mask mandates for children and vaccine requirements for staff Head Start programs.