The Department of Justice is recruiting eight Constitutional and Specialized Tort Litigation (CSTL) lawyers for the vaccine division. The job ad on USJobs.com states, “The office is currently expanding to address workload created by an increase in cases filed under the Vaccine Act.” The ad refers to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which does not currently cover injury complaints filed in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine. Those injuries fall under the PREP Act and the COVID Injury Compensation Program (CICP) statute.
In October, the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) filed a lawsuit against HHS and HRSA to argue that the injury statute of the PREP Act is unconstitutional. Attorney Aaron Siri stated, “We are confident that any Court willing to look at the reality of CICP and how it functions (or does not) would find that the program in no way satisfies Americans’ right to due process.”
If Siri and ICAN are successful in the suit, the COVID vaccine injury claims could be sent to the vaccine court that was established in 1986 to provide immunity to the vaccine manufacturers. However, it is also possible that the CICP portion of the PREP Act could be terminated completely, opening the door for lawsuits against manufacturers. It is unclear if the number of increased claims the ad refers to are from the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine or other vaccines on the childhood vaccination schedule.
Diving deeper into the language on the Department of Justice website provides more details regarding the types of cases CSTL attorneys are expected to handle.
“CSTL attorneys also represent the United States and its agencies in suits in which relief is sought both against the government and against federal officials who are personally named as individual defendants. CSTL attorneys are also responsible for evaluating representation requests for nearly all individual liability matters, even in cases they do not personally handle. As a result, they are the principal point of contact for issues relating to personal representation of federal employees.”
Clients range from line-level employees to senior policymakers with cabinet rank, and the subject matter is as broad and varied as the federal government’s work.
This means the eight lawyers being hired in the expansion of the department could be used to defend higher-profile figures responsible for policy during the COVID pandemic. This includes Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, or other high-ranking officials within the CDC or FDA who dictated policies. The ad does not state that these new hires would be used for that purpose, but the Tort Litigation department they would be working for would be responsible for defending government officials in such cases.
For more context, the CSTL page refers to the 1971 landmark Bivens case that set a precedent for Federal officials to be personally sued for damages. “The U.S. Supreme Court held that federal officials can be sued personally for money damages for on-the-job conduct that violates the Constitution. Cases in which federal employees face personal liability cut across everything the government does in all three branches of government. Whether engaging in everyday law enforcement, protecting our borders, addressing national security, or implementing other critical government policies and functions, federal employees of every rank face personal liability.”
Federal employees for all three branches are open to lawsuits for violations of the Constitution. The select subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic is investigating the origins of the COVID-19 virus. Chairman Brad Wenstrup has issued a subpoena to compel Assistant Secretary for Legislation Melanie Egorin to appear for a deposition on November 14th.
A letter dated September 14th states, “We have a Constitutional duty to conduct thorough oversight and evaluate legislative solutions to address deficiencies and engrain proficiencies within the federal government. The Committees will use this investigation to inform potential legislation to improve pandemic preparedness, strengthen grant processes and oversight, and enhance biosafety and biosecurity of laboratory and field research. This may also include amending or strengthening current criminal laws regarding defrauding the United States.”
The letter further requests “all documents and communications between or among NIH, NIAID, and/or HHS employees regarding grant R01AI110964.” The letter directly names officials, including Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins. The letter also states, “we expect full and timely compliance with each request.”
While investigations into the origins of the pandemic continue, so do mentions of the unconstitutional actions of federal government employees during the pandemic. The new vaccine court lawyers work in the division responsible for defending federal employees in constitutional breaches. The ICAN lawsuit continues and may also be why the DOJ requests more constitutional attorneys in this department.
Published Thursday, November 16, 2023