NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily halted the Biden administration's vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers.

The 5th U.S. 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.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said the action stops Democratic President Joe Biden "from moving forward with his unlawful overreach.”

"The president will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by the constitution,” said a statement from Landry, a Republican.

Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda said the U.S. Department of Labor is "confident in its legal authority to issue the emergency temporary standard on vaccination and testing.”

OSHA has the authority "to act quickly in an emergency where the agency finds that workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them," she said.

Such circuit decisions normally apply to states within a district — Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, in this case — but Landry said the language employed by the judges gave the decision a national scope.

“This is a great victory for the American people out there. Never before has the federal government tried in a such a forceful way to get between the choices of an American citizen and their doctor. To me that’s the heart of the entire issue,” he said.

At least 27 states filed lawsuits challenging the rule in several circuits, some of which were made more conservative by the judicial appointments of former Republican President Donald Trump.

The Biden administration has been encouraging widespread vaccinations as the quickest way to end the pandemic that has claimed more than 750,000 lives in the United States.

The administration says it is confident that the requirement, which includes penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation, will withstand legal challenges in part because its safety rules pre-empt state laws.

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.

Lawrence Gostin, a public health expert at Georgetown University’s law school, said it was troubling that a federal appeals court would stop or delay safety rules in a health crisis, saying no one has a right to go into a workplace “unmasked, unvaxxed and untested.”

“Unelected judges that have no scientific experience shouldn’t be second-guessing health and safety professionals at OSHA,” he said.

(7) comments

Emily Koyama

I'm vaccinated, but the fact remains, that the possible long term side effects of these vaccines are unknown.

You can link me to a billion studies, or argue about risk vs benefit till the cows come home, but that is a fact.

Michael Kiley

Logical error, there is no possibility of long-term studies for a novel virus, so that objection is false. The short-term test so far is 700,000 US deaths. for the unvaccinated. A controlled trial is underway now, where 95% of new cases are unvaccinated. Pseudo science is as dangerous as plain stupidity. The real long-term results of vaccination is not dying of COVID for no good reason.

Mike Johnson

This will be a most interesting case of constitutionality. The new SCOTUS will soon hear it, and the left wing will not be happy.

Michael Kiley

The "extreme left" does not exist. The GOP has moved so far to the right that you attack our national capitol and deny valid elections. Don't feign "constitutionality" when you have spit in its face, or by a group of "justices" that came from blocking President Obama's court nomination for more than a year, and then rushed a last-minute nomination by a twice impeached, repudiated, criminal lame-duck. I won't bother to argue the Constitution, the law is clear.

Robert Fields

This. [thumbup]

Robert Fields

I will never understand how anyone can look at hospitals full of almost exclusively the unvaccinated and say they want them some more of that.

The vaccine hesitant love to quote and overemphasize risks of the vaccines (which are extremely low) and ignore the risks of covid (much much higher) as the justify not getting the shots.

Even though hospital treatments are now better, there is still significant risk for anyone who gets covid. Once you get covid, a vaccine can’t really help you as it takes a while for your body to build up its defenses and it’s already busy. The new covid pills that help recovery won’t be available for a while. They are just finishing trials and still need approval so counting on them is probably not a good idea.

Covid kills and the vaccines are still your best bet to save your own life while stopping the spread. This unfortunate mother of five didn’t get to hold her new baby before she died and now she left her husband to raise their children alone. No idea if the husband got vaxxed or not.

Michael Kiley

Exactly right. Anti-masking and anti-vaxing, and lethal false remedies, gave the novel virus time to mutate, while it killed hundreds of thousands more. And that is entirely the fault, and crime, of Trump.

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