US Appeals Court Reaffirms Hold on Biden’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Private Businesses

US Appeals Court Reaffirms Hold on Biden’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Private Businesses
President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 vaccine booster shots in the State Dining Room at the White House on Sept. 24, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

A U.S. appeals court has rejected a challenge by the Biden administration on Nov. 12 and reaffirmed its decision to put on hold President Joe Biden’s order for companies with 100 workers or more to mandate COVID-19 vaccines.

The mandate, issued by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), would require that businesses with 100 employees or more ensure that those workers either be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, 2022, or be tested weekly and wear a mask.
“The mandate is staggeringly overbroad,” the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans stated in an opinion.
The three-member panel of the court ordered OSHA to “take no steps to implement or enforce the Mandate until further court order.” The court had previously issued a temporary halt to the mandate on Nov. 6 while litigation plays out over its legality.
Despite this, the administration urged private business employers on Nov. 8 to comply with the vaccine mandate. It asserted that halting the implementation of the OSHA rule could lead to the deaths of workers.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the circuit court’s ruling.

“Citing Texas’s ‘compelling argument,’ the 5th Circuit has delayed OSHA’s unconstitutional and illegal private-business vaccine mandate,” Paxton wrote on Twitter. “WE WON! Litigation will continue, but this is a massive victory for Texas and for FREEDOM from Biden’s tyranny and lawlessness.”

At least 27 U.S. states, as well as private employers, religious organizations, and other groups, have sued the Biden administration, claiming that it’s exceeding its authority in issuing the mandate.

In the 5th Circuit Court’s reaffirmation on Nov. 12, it stated that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate “raises serious constitutional concerns” and “likely exceeds the federal government’s authority.”

Biden administration officials didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.