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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 
military members.

   "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.

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