A federal appeals court on Saturday blocked the Biden administration’s private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate, saying there may be constitutional issues with the requirement.
“Because the petitions suggest that there are serious statutory and constitutional problems with the warrant, the warrant is hereby SUSPENDED pending further action by this court,” a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the brief command.
The stoppage of the warrant, which was unveiled this week, is temporary as the case progresses.
The case has been brought by several companies, including the American Family Association; several individuals; and several states, including Texas, Utah and Mississippi.
The petitioners said the mandate, enacted as an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), should be rescinded because it exceeds the authority OSHA under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
They said the authority is limited to workplace hazards, while the risk of COVID-19 is “a society-wide hazard”. They also said the mandate doesn’t make sense because determining whether COVID-19 is a workplace hazard depends on the age and health of employees, not how many co-workers they have. have.
“In an attempt to impose a nationwide vaccination mandate without congressional approval, the executive branch framed its COVID-19 vaccine mandate as an emergency workplace rule affecting nearly 100 million Americans. But the ETS is neither a rule in the workplace nor a response to an emergency,” the petitioners’ lawyers wrote in an emergency motion asking the court to impose a stay.
“Immunization status is a public health issue that affects people across society; it is not a specific workplace hazard. And there’s no need to use an emergency rule to deal with a pandemic that’s been going on for nearly two years. Congress did not grant OSHA such sweeping powers in its licensing statute,” they added.
Administration officials have said in recent days that they are confident the OSHA rule will withstand the wave of legal challenges that have been filed after it was released.
Labor attorney Seema Nanda told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that the administration is prepared to defend the mandate in court.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is confident in its legal authority to issue the Emergency Temporary Standard on Immunization and Testing. The Occupational Safety and Health Act explicitly gives OSHA the authority to act quickly in an emergency when the agency finds that workers are in serious danger and a new standard is needed to protect them,” she said.
Brandon Trosclair, a petitioner who employs nearly 500 people at grocery stores in Louisiana and Mississippi, said in a statement that the decision was “an incredible first victory for all Americans,” adding that the appeals court quickly realized that employer Biden’s vaccine mandate would cause great harm to companies like mine.
“The court action not only prevents Biden from moving forward with his unlawful excess, but it also commands the careful consideration we have called for. The President will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances provided by the Constitution,” added Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican and one of the petitioners.
The appeals court panel consisted of Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, a Trump nominee; Judge Edith Jones, a Reagan candidate; and Judge Kurt Engelhardt, a candidate for George W. Bush.
The Biden administration was ordered to file a response to the petitioners’ motion for a permanent injunction by 5 p.m. Monday and to file a response to the petitioners’ other court documents by 5 p.m. Tuesday.