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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, November 10, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg today joined a ten-state coalition, led by Missouri and Nebraska, in challenging the vaccine mandate that the Biden Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) seeks to impose on healthcare workers throughout the nation.

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

Addressing what is at stake in the case, the lawsuit explains: “The CMS vaccine mandate also threatens to exacerbate an alarming shortage of healthcare workers, particularly in rural communities, that has already reached a boiling point.  Indeed, the circumstances in the Plaintiff States—facts that CMS, which skipped notice-and-comment rulemaking, did not fully consider—foreshadow an impending disaster in the healthcare industry.  By ignoring the facts on the ground and unreasonably dismissing concerns about workforce shortages, the CMS vaccine mandate jeopardizes the healthcare interests of rural Americans.”

The lawsuit incorporates nine counts: a substantive violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) for an arbitrary and capricious action not in accordance with law, a substantive violation of the APA for an action in excess of authority and not in according with law, a procedural violation of the APA for an action without notice and comment, a procedural violation of the Social Security Act for an action without notice and comment, a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1395z for failure to consult with appropriate state agencies, a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1302 for failure to prepare regulatory impact analysis, unconstitutional exercise of the spending power, a violation of the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, and a violation of the Tenth Amendment and federalism.

The lawsuit asks the Court to declare that the vaccine mandate violates the APA and to enjoin defendants from enforcing the mandate.

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

A copy of the lawsuit is on our website: CMS Vaccine Mandate Complaint, November 10, 2021


The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal officer for the State of South Dakota and provides legal advice to agencies, boards, and commissions of the State as well as representing the State in state and federal court.  The Office of Attorney General also handles prosecutions, felony criminal appeals, civil matters, consumer protection issues, and issues formal opinions interpreting statutes for agencies of the state.  Visit to learn more

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