Federal appeals court affirms stay on Biden vaccine mandate for businesses

A federal appeals court has upheld its stay on President BidenJoe BidenHouse passes 8B defense policy bill House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE’s vaccine-or-test mandate for companies with at least 100 employees.

In a 22-page ruling on Friday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the mandate was “fatally flawed,” and barred the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from enforcing the mandate “pending adequate judicial review” of a motion for permanent injunction.

OSHA shall “take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order,” the ruling stated.

ADVERTISEMENT

The mandate, which was supposed to take effect Jan. 4, requires business with at least 100 employees to mandate their workers get vaccinated or undergo frequent testing.

The ruling comes after the New Orleans-based appeals court issued a stay on the order last Saturday. That ruling came after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) filed a challenge to the mandate directly to the court, along with the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah and South Carolina.

The Justice Department asked the appeals court to lift the stay on Monday, saying it would “likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”

“WE WON!” Paxton said on Twitter celebrating Friday’s decision. “Litigation will continue, but this is a massive victory for Texas & FREEDOM from Biden’s tyranny & lawlessness.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The Hill has reached out to the White House and Department of Labor for comment.

The ruling comes as Republicans across the country issue legal challenges against the Biden administration over the mandate. At least 26 states — including coalitions of 25 attorneys general and one solicitor general — have filed legal challenges to the mandate.

In its ruling on Friday, the appeals court said the mandate, which applies to two out of three private-sector employees, “fails to consider what is perhaps the most salient fact of all: the ongoing threat of COVID-19 is more dangerous to some employees than to other employees.” 

“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 wrote.