Friday 24 March 2023

Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Biden Vaccine Mandate For Federal Workers

 A federal appeals court upheld a lower court decision Thursday which prevented the Biden administration from enforcing a COVID vaccine mandate for federal employees.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued a rare en banc ruling that reversed a prior decision enacted by three judges from the same court, which had upheld the vaccine mandate. A preliminary injunction issued in January 2022 by Judge Jeffrey Brown in the Southern District of Texas was therefore affirmed by the most recent decision.

“We hasten to emphasize that this case only involves a preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction’s purpose is to maintain the status quo until the parties have the chance to adjudicate the merits,” the decision said. “When the parties proceed to the merits in the district court, the plaintiffs will have to prove that whatever injunction they request is broad enough to protect against their proven injuries and no broader. And the government will have another chance to show that any permanent injunction should be narrower than the preliminary one.”

Judges from the Fifth Circuit Court noted that both sides will “have to grapple” with the recent announcement from President Joe Biden revealing that the national emergency issued in response to COVID is slated to end in May. White House officials will reportedly disband its COVID response team as the national emergency concludes.

The lawsuit against the vaccine mandate for federal employees was filed by Feds for Medical Freedom, a nonprofit that represents government workers across multiple agencies who oppose COVID vaccine mandates and sanctions against those who refuse to be inoculated. “Dedicated public employees have answered the call of duty and served throughout the pandemic, no matter the risk,” the group says on its website. “We believe that the government should not fire workers because of health conditions or medically-informed health care decisions.”​

Analysts have expressed doubt that vaccine mandates, which were issued in several major cities shortly after the lockdown orders that crippled businesses and shuttered government schools, effectively prevented the transmission of COVID. Researchers at George Mason University recently examined vaccine mandates in cities such as Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia, and concluded that there exists “no evidence that the announcement or implementation of indoor vaccine mandates in the cities listed had any significant effect on vaccine uptake,” as well as cases or deaths related to the illness.

The continued legal action over the federal vaccine mandate comes after the Biden administration sought in November 2021 to require companies with more than 100 employees to require COVID vaccinations or weekly testing. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration could have fined businesses as much as $14,000 for each violation.

The Daily Wire, along with Harmeet K. Dhillon of the Dhillon Law Group and the Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration challenging the mandate, prompting the Supreme Court to rule against the requirement for private employers in January 2022. Major employers such as Starbucks, Intel, and Adidas dropped their vaccine mandates after the decision. “The constitution simply doesn’t grant the federal government the power to insert itself into employment relationships this way,” Daily Wire co-CEO Jeremy Boreing said at the time. “And even if it did, Congress certainly never delegated that power to OSHA.”

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