State Watch

Arizona attorney general asks for restraining order to block federal vaccine mandate

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) filed an amended lawsuit against the Biden administration Friday, seeking a temporary restraining order and nationwide preliminary injunction to block the White House’s new vaccine requirements.

Brnovich was the first GOP official in the country to file a lawsuit against the mandates last month just after Biden announced them. His amended complaint adds new claims to address the rules in place for federal employees and contractors, as well as expected rules for private businesses.

Brnovich, who is running for Senate in 2022 against Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, is one of many Republicans who have opposed the administration over vaccine rules in recent weeks, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and a host of congressional Republicans. 

Brnovich accused the White House of abridging personal freedoms and of overreach. His lawsuit also alleges that the mandates violate individuals’ statutory right to refuse vaccines available under Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration, because he claims Pfizer’s approved version of the vaccine is not being distributed.

The lawsuit’s original complaint was focused on what he claimed was the difference in treatment of U.S. citizens and those caught crossing the border illegally, who are not required to accept a vaccine.

Currently, all federal employees and contractors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22, unless they are granted a specific exception due to a medical condition, disability or because of a sincerely held religious belief. 

There is no option for COVID-19 testing as an alternative. People who are granted exemptions will need regular testing, but details have yet to be released. 

President Biden also announced a new rule to be issued through the Labor Department rule that will require companies with at least 100 employees to implement coronavirus vaccination or testing protocols for their workers. However, the rule has not yet been issued, so it can’t be challenged in court.

Anticipating the rule, many companies have already put their own requirements into place.

Health experts have praised mandates as an effective way to get people vaccinated, and the White House has fully leaned into them as a way to turn the tide of the pandemic after initially steering clear of federal intervention.

Tags coronavirus vaccine Greg Abbott Joe Biden Lawsuit Mark Kelly Ron DeSantis vaccine mandate
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