A federal appeals court blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate on Saturday, just two days after the administration issued the law through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The rule requires employees at companies with 100 or more workers to get the jab by Jan. 4 or be tested for the virus weekly to avoid getting fired or racking up massive fines.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay, freezing President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 mandate. The court’s decision came in response to a joint petition from entities in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah.
— Liberty Justice Center (@LJCenter) November 6, 2021
“Yesterday, I sued the Biden Admin over its unlawful OSHA vax mandate,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted on Saturday. “WE WON. Just this morning, citing ‘grave statutory and constitutional issues,’ the 5th Circuit stayed the mandate. The fight is not over and I will never stop resisting this Admin’s unconstitutional overreach!”
Yesterday, I sued the Biden Admin over its unlawful OSHA vax mandate.
WE WON. Just this morning, citing “grave statutory and constitutional issues,” the 5th Circuit stayed the mandate. The fight is not over and I will never stop resisting this Admin’s unconstitutional overreach! https://t.co/Vbez0HL9t5
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) November 6, 2021
“Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby stayed pending further action by this court,” the judges wrote.
The ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit comes after at least two dozen state attorneys general threatened to sue the administration for federal overreach.
“Courts are skeptical because the law demands it,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter to Biden in September. “To justify an emergency temporary standard, OSHA must determine that ‘employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards…’ and it must conclude that ‘such emergency standard is necessary to protect employees from such danger.’ You cannot plausibly meet the high burden of showing that employees in general are in grave danger.”
Although the Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda said the Labor Department was “confident in its legal authority” to issue the OSHA-enforced vaccine mandate, Republican-led groups have been questioning and denying its legality since it was implemented on Nov. 4.
“The Occupational Safety and Health Act explicitly gives OSHA the authority to act quickly in an emergency where the agency finds that workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them,” Nanda said in a statement. “We are fully prepared to defend this standard in court.”
The ruling is the first win against OSHA, but many Republicans are also fighting the mandate in court, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“The federal government can’t just unilaterally impose medical policy under the guise of workplace regulation,” DeSantis said on Thursday.
The mandate applies to more than 80 million workers who face coerced compliance or unemployment. An estimated 31.7 million of those workers are unvaccinated and will be forced to choose the jab or their jobs come January. Millions of health care workers participating in Medicare and Medicaid are required to get their shots by January with no option for weekly testing. Private businesses that don’t comply with OSHA’s controversial rule could face a fine of over $130,000.