Employee Seeking Relief from COVID Vaccination Mandate Loses in Court

An IRS employee went to court arguing against mandatory covid vaccination. The Court left open another opportunity for a future case.

An employee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filed a lawsuit asking the Court to enjoin the enforcement of two presidential executive orders directing federal agencies to require COVID vaccinations for federal employees and contractors. (McCray vs. Biden, No. 21-2882, District Court for the District of Columbia.

The employee also worked as a network operations support contractor for the Department of Defense (DOD).

The Court dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and that the case was not “yet ripe for adjudication.” The decision provides a summary of arguments likely to be made in other cases but which may be considered on the merits.

Arguments Raised Against Mandatory COVID Vaccination

Ronald McCray, Jr. argued he is “naturally immune to coronavirus” because he has “already recovered.” At the time the case was filed, he had not received vaccinations. He asserted he had already had “two life-threatening heart attacks” in 2013 resulting in “life-long injuries.”

His contention is that “the President’s order mandate [he] inject himself with vaccines known to have increased risks of heart inflammation in males of his age group.” His lawsuit was seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the president and a declaration that the president’s orders are unlawful.

Improper Designation of a Public Health Emergency

He contended the pandemic was improperly designated as a public health emergency in violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. In support, he states that the “CDC and WHO ‘knowingly and willfully’ devised a fraudulent testing scheme to produce false-positive results and which were used to drum up Covid deaths and cases to stoke an emergency of a novel coronavirus.”

He also argued the risk of asymptomatic spread is much lower than the government has represented and that natural immunity against the disease is as effective or more effective than the vaccine.

McCray asserted in his argument to the Court that because “[f]raud destroys the validity of everything into which it enters,” both of “the President’s orders are invalid as the mandates rely on a fraudulent declaration of public health emergency as justification.”

Mandate Violates Right to Due Process and Bodily Integrity

He also argued that the mandate violated his Fifth Amendment right to substantive due process and bodily integrity, including that the “forcible injection of medication into a nonconsenting person’s body represents a substantial interference with that person’s liberty.”

Mandate Is Deprivation of Equal Protection

McCray also claims the mandates deprive him of his Fifth Amendment right to equal protection. The basis for this argument is that the government unlawfully discriminated on the basis of natural immunity to COVID because natural immunity is treated differently than those with vaccine-induced immunity.

President is the Only Named Defendant

The Court concluded the major problem with the case is that the only defendant against whom he seeks relief is President Joseph Biden. But, concluded the Court, these Executive Orders are not a “ministerial action.” Instead, they are “discretionary actions” taken as part of a president’s official duties.

McCray could sue other executive officials tasked with carrying out the president’s orders and suing President Biden is not the only possible avenue of relief.

Court Lacks Jurisdiction…Room for Future Case

As the case was framed, the decision in this case was that McCray lacked standing to seek an injunction or declaratory judgment against President Biden. And, since the Court lacked jurisdiction, the request for a temporary restraining order was also denied.

While this case was dismissed, the decision may interest others pursuing action in various courts contesting the mandate requiring COVID vaccinations. The decision notes:

Of course, it is important to clarify that none of the foregoing discussion should be interpreted to mean that presidential executive orders are immune from injunctive or declaratory relief….But the critical lesson is that, in such litigation, the proper course is to seek to enjoin a member of the executive branch from carrying out the executive order at issue, not the President…With this in mind, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint without prejudice, because it may be possible for Plaintiff to raise his claims against a different executive branch official other than the President.

Case Not “Ripe for Jurisdiction”

In addition to the rationale described above, the Court noted “Plaintiff’s purported injury is contingent upon his employers denying his application for a medical exemption. This is a ‘contingent future event[] that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not occur at all.’ ”

In this case, the IRS employee had applied for a medical exemption because of his heart condition but the agency had not yet ruled on that request. McCray indicated, in this case, “he expects that his request for an exemption will be denied because he “do[es]n’t have a doctor” and therefore ‘submitted an incomplete application.'”

In other words, there was a potential for a future injury that this potential did not “render an issue ripe for review.”

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47