The Supreme Court could be the next stop for the Biden vaccine mandate after a U.S. appeals court reaffirmed its temporary halt of the plan. The court rejected a challenge by President Joe Biden and his administration Friday evening and re-affirmed its decision to put on hold the order for companies with 100 workers.
Biden’s controversial rule was issued by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requiring businesses with 100 employees or more to require them to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, 2022, or to be tested weekly and wear a mask.
Court watchers say it was a significant slap-down of a policy many say is unconstitutional. It comes as a record number of Americans left their jobs in October ahead of enforcement of the mandate.
“The mandate is staggeringly overbroad,” the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said in an opinion on Friday. The three-member panel of the court ordered OSHA to “take no steps to implement or enforce the Mandate until further court order.”
The court had on Nov. 6 issued a temporary halt to the mandate while litigation plays out over its legality.
Despite this, the administration on Nov. 8 urged private business employers to comply with the vaccine mandate. It asserted that halting implementation of the OSHA rule could lead to the deaths of workers.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the Fifth Circuit Court’s ruling.
“Citing Texas’s ‘compelling argument[s],’ the 5th Circuit has delayed OSHA’s unconstitutional and illegal private-business vaccine mandate,” he said on Twitter. “WE WON! Litigation will continue, but this is a massive victory for Texas and for FREEDOM from Biden’s tyranny and lawlessness.”
At least 27 U.S. states, as well as private employers, religious organizations, and other groups, have sued the Biden administration, saying it is exceeding its authority in issuing the mandate.
In the Fifth Circuit Court’s reaffirmation on Friday, it said that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate “raises serious constitutional concerns” and “likely exceeds the federal government’s authority.”
The Biden administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.