North Dakota joins lawsuit challenging CMS vaccine mandate

Photo Credit: Office of State Attorney General
Photo Credit: Office of State Attorney General

(Bismarck, ND) – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem Wednesday joined a lawsuit challenging the vaccine mandate that the Biden Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) seeks to impose on healthcare workers.

According to the lawsuit, the CMS vaccine mandate “imposes an unprecedented federal vaccine mandate on nearly every full- or part-time employee, volunteer, and contractor working at a wide range of healthcare facilities receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding.”

“Yet again, this lawsuit is not about whether people should get vaccinated. Instead, it is about federal overreach and the federal government using an unconstitutional mandate to force front-line health care workers to choose between a vaccination or unemployment. North Dakota is already experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers, and this mandate will only exacerbate the situation,” said Stenehjem.

The lawsuit documents CMS’ contradictions in this vaccine mandate, stating, in part, “CMS never considered other important aspects of imposing its mandate. Among those are the liberty interests of healthcare workers who—for any number of varying personal reasons—do not want to take one of the currently authorized vaccines.”

“This isn’t about whether COVID-19 vaccines work – they do – or whether they’re important in health care settings – they are. Rather, this misguided CMS mandate will only breed additional vaccine resistance and workforce challenges. We fully support the attorney general joining this lawsuit and urge the court to immediately block this intrusive and illegal mandate,” said Governor Doug Burgum.

The lawsuit incorporates nine counts, including substantive and procedural violations of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), an unconstitutional exercise of the spending power, a violation of the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, and a violation of the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Stenehjem said the lawsuit asks the Court to declare that the vaccine mandate violates the APA and to prohibit the CMS from enforcing the mandate.

In addition to North Dakota, attorneys general from Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, and New Hampshire also joined the lawsuit.