Indiana AG Rokita exploring legal action to block Biden’s COVID-19 mandates

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita says he has spoken with other state attorneys general about blocking the COVID-19 mandates President Biden announced Thursday.

“We haven’t as a country or even as a state been in this place before,” Rokita said in an interview Friday morning, calling the federal requirements “unprecedented.”

Rokita said he is exploring all legal options.

“It may come down to OSHA standards for public employees,” Rokita said. “It may come down to some other things. But we’re looking at multiple angles, and we’re not going to leave any stone unturned.”

Rokita also called on other Indiana officials to join him in fighting the mandates.

“Hopefully our state agencies and our state elected officials and politicians besides me stand up with the agencies that they run and also fight against this, but I speak for the state from a legal perspective, and we’re certainly from that perspective going to be fighting,” Rokita said.

Governor Eric Holcomb is also not in favor of President Biden’s announcement.

“I believe the vaccine is the number one tool that will protect us and our loved ones against COVID-19. It is the tool that will end the pandemic. However, I strongly believe it’s not the state or federal government’s role to issue a vaccine mandate upon citizens and private businesses. This is the approach our administration has taken all along. The announcement from President Biden is a bridge too far. Private businesses should be able to look at their own mission, their staff and their goals and make the decision best for them that will keep their doors open. I believe it is fundamentally a citizen’s right to choose whether or not to get the vaccine. While I wish everyone would get the vaccine, we are a country built on this exact type of freedom.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb

Rokita said once the rules are released, he’ll have a better idea of how he’ll work to get them blocked.

“As soon as we see exactly where they’re going with this, we’ll be able to have a more specific strategy about how you use government agencies and certainly how my office is going to fight,” he said.

Rokita disagreed with Biden’s argument that the mandates are meant to protect Americans from COVID-19.

“All this mandate’s going to do, it’s not going to keep people safe,” Rokita said. “It’s going to increase hesitancy. It’s going to increase revolt. It’s going to increase disunity.”

CBS4 also spoke Friday with White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who said the move was necessary due to the nation’s lagging vaccination rates and the recent surge in cases of COVID-19 involving the more contagious Delta variant.

“The President’s been very clear about this,” said Jean-Pierre. “This is not about politics, this is about saving lives. This is about making sure we’re getting more people vaccinated. This is about decreasing hospitalizations and deaths.”

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