Supreme Court Should Block Vaccine Mandates: Louisiana Attorney General

'If the court allows these mandates to continue, then basically the question becomes, what kind of nation do we now have?'
By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
January 7, 2022Updated: January 7, 2022

Supreme Court justices on Friday will hear oral arguments on two Biden administration COVID-19 vaccine mandates, including one imposed on every business with 100 or more workers.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, will be among those arguing against the mandates. Landry sued the administration with other states over them.

The Supreme Court should pause the mandates because federal agencies did not follow proper rulemaking guidelines and exceeded their statutory authority, Landry told The Epoch Times hours before the arguments were set to start.

“If the court allows these mandates to continue, then basically the question becomes, what kind of nation do we now have?” Landry said. “Can the federal government continue to mandate medical procedures on American citizens against their will? And where do we draw the line on that?”

One mandate was announced by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It forces every business with 100 or more employees to obtain proof of COVID-19 vaccination from each worker or make them get a COVID-19 test on a regular basis, at least weekly.

The other was announced by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It forces every facility that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding to get vaccine verification from workers and fines those that retain workers who do not provide proof of vaccination. There’s no testing opt out.

The Biden administration has argued that the rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks enables it to bypass normal rulemaking guidelines, that the mandates will save thousands of lives each month, and that Congress gave the health secretary and OSHA the authority to enact mandates, even though mandates are not mentioned in either of the laws cited.

Supreme Court Justices Group Photo
Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington on April 23, 2021. Seated from left: Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Standing from left: Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett. (Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images)

“The vaccine requirement falls squarely within the plain text of the secretary’s statutory authority and complies with all procedural requirements,” administration lawyers told the Supreme Court in a brief this week.

The hearing comes as both agencies prepare to punish companies that don’t comply. Some companies have already implemented mandates because of the looming deadlines.

Landry says both mandates would lead to “absolutely significant” job losses and worries about healthcare worker shortages. Healthcare entities and associations told the courts in an affidavit in one of the cases that there are already open and unfilled positions, and allowing the mandate to stay in place would lead to more workers leaving.

The court could decide to keep one of the mandates in place and block the other, but Landry believes it will either block both or let both stand.

“I don’t know how the court could uphold one and strike the other down,” he said. “I would presume that both of the cases are going to the outcome will be the same.”

Whether the court enters preliminary injunctions against the mandates or not, the cases against them will proceed in lower courts.

The Supreme Court previously declined to block mandates in New York, New Mexico, Massachusetts, but mandate opponents hope justices will take action because of how broad the federal mandates are.

Roman Balmakov and Matthew Vadum contributed to this report.

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