President Joe Biden has taken a major hit in his efforts to have private businesses with more than 100 employees enforce a vaccine or testing mandate.
On Friday the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals three judge panel in New Orleans blocked the mandate, saying it is “staggeringly overbroad.”
The court said that Biden’s mandate “grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority,” saying that “rather than a delicately handled scalpel, 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 panel included Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan and Judge Kurt Engelhardt, who were both appointed by President Donald Trump, and one, Judge Edith Jones, who was appointed by the late President Ronald Reagan.
“From economic uncertainty to workplace strife, the mere specter of the Mandate has contributed to untold economic upheaval in recent months,” Judge Engelhardt said.
“At least 27 states have filed legal challenges in at least six federal appeals courts after OSHA released its rules on Nov. 4. The federal government said in its court filings Monday that the cases should be consolidated and that one of the circuit courts where a legal challenge has been filed should be chosen at random on Nov. 16 to hear it,” The Associated Press said.
“Administration lawyers said there is no reason to keep the vaccine mandate on hold while the court where the cases ultimately land remains undetermined,” it said.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, one of the critics of the mandate, celebrated the court victory on Twitter.
“Citing Texas’s “’argument[s],’ the 5th Circuit has stayed OSHA’s unconstitutional and illegal private-business vaccine mandate. WE WON! Litigation will continue, but this is a massive victory for #Texas and for FREEDOM from Biden’s tyranny and lawlessness,” he said.
Citing Texas’s “compelling argument[s],” the 5th Circuit has stayed OSHA’s unconstitutional and illegal private-business vaccine mandate.
WE WON! Litigation will continue, but this is a massive victory for #Texas and for FREEDOM from Biden’s tyranny and lawlessness.
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) November 12, 2021
The court originally issued a stay on the mandate last week pending a hearing.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit originally made the decision pending further litigation, Bloomberg Law reported.
The order comes a day after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration officially published its vaccinate-or-test regulation, which was met by a flurry of lawsuits from Republican state attorneys general, companies, and other organizations seeking to block it. The emergency temporary standard is supposed to last just six months, heightening the significance of any delay before the rule gets full judicial review.
The three-judge Fifth Circuit panel that halted the regulation is composed of Judges Kyle Duncan and Kurt Engelhardt, who were both appointed by the Trump administration, and Judge Edith Jones, a Reagan administration appointee.
A group of companies led by BST Holdings sought the stay in the Fifth Circuit, where they filed suit on Friday seeking to have the measure voided. Challengers have similarly filed motions asking for the rule to be paused in other circuit courts.
With multiple lawsuits against the OSHA regulation filed in several circuit courts, federal rules for mulit-circuit litigation call for the cases to be consolidated and heard by one court that’s initially chosen by a lottery.
“Before the court is the petitioners’ emergency motion to stay enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Nov. 5 2021 Emergency Temporary Standard (the “Mandate”), pending expedited judicial review,” the court said.
“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,” it said.
The stay can be lifted by another court who takes the case, but the Fifth Circuit gave the Biden administration until Monday to respond to the plaintiff’s request for a permanent injunction.
“The Government shall respond to the petitioners’ motion for a permanent injunction by 5pm on Monday Nov 8. The petitioners shall file any reply by 5pm on Tuesday Nov. 9,” it said.