The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday temporarily halted the Biden administration's vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers, as a response to a lawsuit filed
by five states, including Texas, Mississippi, and various private parties.
The court’s decision came in response to a joint petition from entities in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah. You can read the order through this link.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay of the requirement by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration that those workers be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or face mask requirements and weekly tests.
At least 27 states filed lawsuits challenging the rule in several circuits, the 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, said it was delaying the federal vaccine requirement because of potential "grave statutory and constitutional issues" raised by the plaintiffs. The government must provide an expedited reply to the motion for a permanent injunction Monday, followed by petitioners' reply on Tuesday.
Louisiana Attorney General Landry said, “The Court’s action not only halts Biden from moving forward with his unlawful overreach, but it also commands the judicious review we sought. The President will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by the Constitution.”
"Citizens of Utah can take courage that their elected leaders have confronted this unprecedented expansion of presidential power with a united front and that the courts are paying attention," said Utah Attorney General Reyes.
“Yesterday, I sued the Biden Admin over its unlawful OSHA vax mandate,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted on Saturday. “WE WON. Just this morning, citing ‘grave statutory and constitutional issues,’ the 5th Circuit stayed the mandate. The fight is not over and I will never stop resisting this Admin’s unconstitutional overreach!”
The Biden Vaccine mandate purports to use an emergency order through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the regulatory agency within the U.S. Labor Department that governs workplace safety, not public health. OSHA’s emergency order requires all employers with 100 or more employees to demand that their employees either be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or get a COVID-19 test at least once a week.
Law professor and former Justice Department official John Yoo in an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News explained the case against Biden’s vaccine mandate this way:
… the commerce clause cannot transform a limited federal government into a general power to control everything and everyone in the country. Our federal system reserves the leading role over public health to the states. The states possess the “police power” to regulate virtually all activity within their borders, such as crime and justice, public safety, family relations, property, contracts and accidents. As the Supreme Court has recognized, safeguarding public health and safety presents the most compelling use of state power. Only the states can impose quarantines, close businesses and schools, and limit intrastate travel and only governors can impose vaccination mandates on state residents.
Even if the president could find some source of authority granted by Congress to regulate all businesses, he could not enforce his orders with federal power alone. In New York vs. United States (1992) and Printz vs. United States (1997), the Supreme Court expressly forbade Congress from “commandeering” state officials into enforcing federal commands. If the federal government were to demand that virtually all businesses force their workers to be vaccinated, it could only call upon federal officials to execute it. Will OSHA inspectors suddenly and systematically spy on every medium and large business, determine if tens of millions of workers have received vaccinations, and levy millions in fines and overload the federal courts with millions of cases? Washington simply does not have enough resources to manage such a vast task. The FBI, the closest we have to a national police force, has fewer agents than the NYPD has sworn officers.
Prof. Yoo closed by saying, “…Biden should rely more on encouragement and less on command, where he remains on dubious legal ground. If he wants to overcome the contrary views of 80 million Americans about their personal health care decisions, he should not seek to deprive them of their livelihoods.”
At least 26 states on Friday filed or joined lawsuits opposing President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate. "This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise," said a filing by a coalition of 11 states.
However, this battle is far from over, as Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at George Mason University explained in an article for Reason magazine, “Even if the Fifth Circuit panel ultimately rules against the Biden administration, that won't necessarily be the end of the legal battle over this issue. Much depends on how broad the ruling is, and on what grounds. It's possible OSHA could respond to a narrow ruling against it by limiting the scope of the mandate or adjusting it in some other way. It's also possible that a lower-court ruling against OSHA might be reversed or limited by the Supreme Court.”
5th Circuit Court