Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff looks on as Jessica Palacios receives a COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Eva Sweeny Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at Mary’s Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith

Private employers opposing Biden’s vaccine mandate enjoy delay by Supreme Court

2 mins read

Businesses with 100 workers or more must stop implementing Biden’s executive order on vaccine mandates.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, temporarily halted the federal vaccine requirement by the Biden Administration for larger businesses. In a lawsuit filed by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who was one of 27 states suing the federal government, calls the mandate an “abuse of power.”  

Because of potential “grave statutory and constitutional issues” raised by the plaintiffs, the Circuit court granted an emergency stay of the requirement by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that those workers be vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022 or face mask requirements and weekly tests.

“The President will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by the Constitution,” stated Louisiana AG Landry.

On the flip side, a spokesman for the Justice Department, Anthony Coley, said in a statement: “The OSHA emergency temporary standard is a critical tool to keep America’s workplaces safe as we fight our way out of this pandemic. The Justice Department will vigorously defend this rule in court.”

The Biden Administration enacted an executive order giving OSHA the authority to implement an Emergency Temporary Standard, which is a vaccine mandate for safety during a health crisis. Initially, the nationwide requirement was supposed to go into full effect for federal contractors and healthcare providers on December 5, but after a growing, unrelenting opposition, President Biden moved it to January 4, 2022.

| Read: Biden announces new masking rules

In the order, if an employee is not vaccinated, companies can face a penalty of up to $14,000. “Never before has the federal government tried in such a forceful way to get between the choices of an American citizen and their doctor. To me that’s the heart of the entire issue,” Louisiana AG Landry said.

For months, unions and workers who oppose the mandate have been fighting the regulations through demonstrations and in court. In Newark, New Jersey firefighters and local police unions rejected the city’s Mayor Ras Baraka’s rule demanding that they get a jab or get another job. Eventually, the courts ruled in favor of Mayor Baraka, but failed to implement a plan on how to enforce the mandate.

Leading up to the temporary stay, other groups were unsuccessful too in their challenges. Although several judges dissented, Maine’s Circuit Court overturned a ruling to suspend vaccine mandates for medical workers and nurses, even if they presented a religious exemption. In Chicago, a judge ruled against 130 firefighters asking for a delay in implementing mandates. This also was a similar outcome for emergency service municipal employees in New York City who had to take the shots if they could not show a religious or medical exemption. But, sanitation workers still are resisting. Over 9,000 workers, or an estimate of 17 percent of sanitation employees have taken a leave of absence in protest of the mandate. The work stoppage has caused trash to pile up throughout the city. 

According to Louisiana AG Landry, the decision in his home state has a “national scope,” that can be applied in possible appeals by groups rejected in their legal efforts. However, the government is “confident in its legal authority to issue the emergency temporary standard on vaccination and testing,” said the U.S. Labor Department’s top legal adviser, Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. The government must reply to the injunction by Monday.

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