On Saturday, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the mandate, explaining in its brief order: “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.”
Organizations like the American Family Association and multiple individuals and states like Texas, Utah and Mississippi all brought cases against the mandate.
In their emergency motion, lawyers for the petitioners asked the court to impose a stay on the vaccination rules that had been announced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The attorneys argued, “There is no need to use an emergency rule to address a pandemic that has been going on for nearly two years. Congress did not grant OSHA such sweeping powers in its authorizing statute.”
On Thursday, OSHA issued its Emergency Temporary Standard requiring employers to “determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination, maintain records of each employee’s vaccination status and maintain a roster of each employee’s vaccination status.”
The mandate, set to take effect Jan. 4, would have forced the affected businesses to either have every one of their workers vaccinated or have them undergo weekly testing and submit to mask requirements.
This comes after Biden in September announced plans to end what he called the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” — blaming the unvaccinated for the continuation of COVID-19. Among his plans was compelling large companies to require their workers to either get vaccinated or get frequent COVID tests.
The Biden administration is confident the vaccine mandate will make it through the legal storms and eventually take effect. In an email to Epoch Times, Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda commented:
The U.S. Department of Labor is confident in its legal authority to issue the emergency temporary standard on vaccination and testing. 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.
This will not be the last time this mandate will be challenged in court. In fact, the states of Florida, Georgia and Alabama have already sued in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis — a Catholic — weighed in on the mandate, saying, “The federal government can’t just unilaterally impose medical policy under the guise of workplace regulation.”
Further out west, the state of Texas has banned vaccine mandates. Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott — also a Catholic — issued an executive order banning vaccine requirements by any entity. Previously, he had prohibited only government entities from mandating the jab.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ two-page order directs the government to respond to the petitioners’ motion for a permanent injunction, by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 8.