U.S. Supreme Court challenge could be next as states consider options as injunction is lifted.
On Friday, the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals lifted the injunction on President Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate on businesses with over 100 employees, meaning the Department of Labor through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) can implement its rules.
The 5th Circuit had issued the stay on the President’s mandate in early November, ahead of the initial deadline given by the Administration. The action was filed by Mississippi and other states, along with some private businesses. OSHA, then, suspended the implementation and enforcement of the mandate. Now, the federal government will return to their original course of action, forcing the employers to impose the mandate on their workforce.
More than two dozen cases challenging the Biden mandates were transferred to the 6th Circuit last month, including those from the 5th Circuit where Mississippi filed. That move came after the Biden Administration sought to have the cases consolidated in a single court, which was granted.
The 6th Circuit agreed with the White House position on the vaccine, opining that OSHA does have the authority to impose the vaccine mandate and that the Administration had “demonstrated the pervasive danger that COVID-19 poses to workers—unvaccinated workers in particular—in their workplaces.”
OSHA issued a statement following the court’s action, saying that it will begin citations for noncompliance after January 10, 2022, and that it will not issue citations for the testing requirements until February 9, 2022. They will be looking for “good faith” efforts to implement the mandate.
The states involved in the 5th Circuit decision that granted the stay has indicated that they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court for immediate consideration of the case.
Injunctions remain in place, for now, regarding President Biden’s COVID vaccine mandates related to healthcare workers and federal contractors.