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Federal Courts Blocks Biden Administration’s Vaccine Mandates In Several States

Federal Courts Blocks Biden Administration’s Vaccine Mandates In Several States

More than two dozen states have filed multiple legal challenges in federal court against the Biden administration’s vaccinate-or-test mandate for private businesses, arguing that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) doesn’t have the authority to issue the requirements. The four lawsuits were filed by groups of 26 states in the 8th Circuit, 11th Circuit, 6th Circuit, and 5th Circuit over the past few days. They seek to nullify an emergency rule released Thursday that requires companies with more than 100 employees to verify their workers are vaccinated or have unvaccinated workers wear masks and submit to weekly Covid-19 testing.

An ultra-conservative circuit court in Louisiana was the first to block the Biden administration’s mandate that millions of workers get vaccinated against Covid-19 or be tested weekly, ruling in a suit filed by several states, companies, and conservative religious groups. The states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah are also among the plaintiffs. “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,” a panel of judges for the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Saturday.

Anti-vaccine rally protesters hold signs outside of Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, on June 26, 2021. – A spokesperson for Houston Methodist Hospital said on June 23, 153 employees either resign or were fired for refusing to be vaccinated. (Photo by Mark Felix / AFP) (Photo by MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

The lawsuits argue that the Department of Labor lacks the authority to issue a rule and that it did not follow the proper procedure in issuing the emergency temporary standard. Some states have varied their arguments; for example, the suit led by Florida, Georgia, and Alabama in the 11th Circuit also argues the requirements conflict with the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Republican trend to fight vaccine mandates across mostly Southern states has led to the highest numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the last few months. CDC statistics show that upwards of 99% of COVID deaths and hospitalizations would be preventable with vaccinations.

[This is a developing story, please check back for updates]

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