Los Angeles School District Cannot Mandate Vaccines
How that case relates to Ohio lawsuits covid measures.
State legislatures often set the power parameters for local governments and institutions. Among many common areas where this may occur in a state are building regulation, traffic control, animal control, and infectious disease control. Uniformity of regulation in these areas may make sense.
The ruling in G.F. v. Los Angeles Unified School District hinges on the delegation doctrine. California’s state legislature “occupied the field” as to vaccine mandates. School districts cannot exceed this legislative direction. The judge ruled that LAUSD exceeded the limit on its authority over students:
LAUSD had the authority to approve and adopt the Resolution so long as the Resolution "is not in conflict with or inconsistent with, or preempted by, any law and which is not in conflict with the purposes for which school districts are established….
The court finds the vaccines required of schoolchildren for enrollment and continued attendance in school in this state has been so covered by statutes within the Health and Safety Code that the field has become exclusively a matter of state concern-the Legislature has created a comprehensive scheme concerning schoolchildren and immunizations. To the extent the Legislature has not fully covered the area, the extent of coverage indicates "a paramount state concern" for which local legislation cannot be tolerated.
In our Ohio cases against school districts and universities, we argue Ohio’s Legislature set public policy limiting local boards of health regarding issuing orders or regulations for the public health or prevention or restriction of disease by enacting R.C. 3709.212. If a board of health with specific expertise is limited, a school, without expertise, cannot exceed the power of boards of health as to masking, vaccines, quarantines, distancing and other covid related rules.
Furthermore, under R.C. 3792.04, a public school may not discriminate between an unvaccinated individual and one who has received a COVID-19 vaccine not fully approved by the FDA by requiring the unvaccinated individual to engage in or refrain from engaging in activities or precautions that differ from the activities or precautions of an individual who have received vaccines not fully approved by the FDA.
Ohio’s Attorney General, David Yost, argued the same principle at the United States Supreme Court when he opposed employer mandates there. He reversed course in defending university cases arguing Ohio’s public universities can mandate experimental medical treatment, distancing, and quarantining for students and staff.
AG Yost should be supporting staff and students instead of undermining this principle.
Congratulations to the brave objectors at LAUSD—an important win for all of us.