Lauren Moye, FISM News
A Friday court ruling upheld a decision to block President Joe Biden’s order that businesses with more than 100 employees would be required to mandate vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 testing for their workers.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans called the vaccination mandate “fatally flawed” in a 22-page ruling that denied the Biden administration’s appeal to overturn the court’s temporary stay. The ruling also prohibits the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from enforcing the mandate until the court can properly hear a motion for a permanent injunction.
The ruling stated that OSHA shall “take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order.”
The ruling was issued despite an attempt from the Justice Department to lift the stay, claiming that blocking the mandate would “likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”
Instead, the appeals panel wrote that the mandate is “a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces (and workers) that have more than a little bearing on workers’ varying degrees of susceptibility to the supposedly ‘grave danger’ the Mandate purports to address.”
The White House order for mandated vaccines was released on Nov. 4 through new OSHA rules and required businesses to come into compliance by Dec. 5. This meant employers were required to give paid time off to employees for them to receive vaccinations. The vaccination deadline was Jan. 4, but businesses could be exempt if they required weekly negative COVID tests from unvaccinated employees. Businesses that violate the mandate would face fines as high as $136,000 under the order.
States and private religious institutions widely rejected the mandate from the Biden administration by filing lawsuits against the federal government. This included one filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton the day after the new OSHA rules were announced, which led to the appeals court temporarily suspending the federal vaccine mandate on Nov. 6.
The original court ruling read:
Before the court is the petitioners’ emergency motion to stay enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s November 5, 2021 Emergency Temporary Standard (the “Mandate”) pending expedited judicial review.
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.
Despite this ruling, the White House continued to urge businesses to keep taking steps in order to comply with the OSHA regulations. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that “the administration clearly has the authority to protect workers” in defiance of the appeals court decision.
Paxton celebrated the “massive victory for Texas” and freedom from “tyranny & lawlessness” on Twitter after the 5th Circuit announced yesterday’s decision to uphold its stay:
🚨Citing Texas’s “compelling argument[s],” 5th Circuit has stayed OSHA’s unconstitutional & illegal private-business vaccine mandate. WE WON! Litigation will continue, but this is a massive victory for Texas & FREEDOM from Biden’s tyranny & lawlessness.https://t.co/w7MKyXs73L
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) November 13, 2021