Just before the weekend, a federal court upheld a stay blocking the Biden administration from enforcing its latest COVID-19 vaccine mandate — a constitutionally dubious rule promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Now, as the courts seek to tamp down on what they clearly view as federal overreach, the Biden administration is vowing to “vigorously defend” its mandate requiring millions of American workers to get COVID-19 vaccinations.
The White House made its position clear in a statement released by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“This decision is just the beginning of the process for review of this important OSHA standard,” the statement read, according to Fox News. “The Department will continue to vigorously defend the standard and looks forward to obtaining a definitive resolution following consolidation of all of the pending cases for further review.”
Biden vaccine mandates
At issue is a rule first announced by President Joe Back back in early September, when he tasked OSHA with developing a COVID-related vaccine mandate. The rule was recently finalized.
Now, employers with more than 100 employees have until Jan. 4 to either force their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or to undergo regular testing for the disease, potentially at their own expense. Failure to comply will result in hefty fines for the businesses.
The attorneys general of over two dozen Republican states have challenged OSHA’s rule, however — and they have already received a couple of legal victories, albeit temporary ones.
WH doubles down
After filing the suits, the AGs asked the courts for a stay stopping the Biden administration from enforcing the OSHA rule while it is being litigated. A little over a week ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the 5th Circuit granted that stay.
The Biden Justice Department quickly responded with an appeal. The administration also urged employers to proceed with implementing OSHA’s rule, despite the court order.
The DOJ argued the stay would “likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.” But the courts weren’t buying it.
“The public interest is also served by maintaining our constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals to make intensely personal decisions according to their own convictions — even, or perhaps particularly, when those decisions frustrate government officials,” Judge Kurt Engelhardt wrote in a Friday decision keeping the stay in place, according to Fox.
It was this decision that prompted the DOJ to promise to “vigorously defend” OSHA’s new rules. We can only hope the justice system “vigorously” rejects that defense.