Court Freezes Biden's Vaccine Mandate

Federal government has to counter states' lawsuit by Monday
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2021 3:45 PM CDT
Court Freezes Biden's Vaccine Mandate
Demonstrators protest vaccine mandates outside an American Airlines maintenance facility last week in Tulsa.   (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)

(Newser) – One of the multiple lawsuits filed by more than two dozen states to stop President Biden's vaccine mandate for private employers paid off Saturday, at least temporarily. An appeals court in Louisiana granted an emergency stay of the federal order. The government has until 5pm Monday to make its case to the court for why the injunction should not become permanent, Politico reports. The "Fifth Circuit got this one right," Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said in a statement after the announcement. The mandate is unconstitutional, Sasse said, and "will only increase vaccine hesitancy."

Four lawsuits were filed in four circuits against the requirement scheduled to be imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on businesses with 100 or more employees. Biden announced the plan in September. By Jan. 4, workers must be vaccinated or face weekly coronavirus testing and mask requirements. Republicans immediately announced they'd fight the rule in court. The Fifth Circuit, which is based in New Orleans, explained its ruling by saying, "the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate."

The Biden administration has argued that the federal government's safety rules supersede state laws, per the AP. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah are plaintiffs in the Fifth Circuit suit, along with several religious groups and companies. The Labor Department's chief legal officer said Saturday the government will defend the requirement in court, per the New York Times. Federal law "explicitly gives OSHA the authority to act quickly in an emergency where the agency finds that workers are subjected to a grave danger," Seema Nanda said. (Read more vaccine mandate stories.)

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