President Joe Biden earlier this year imposed new rules on federal contractors and subcontractors requiring their workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19. It didn’t take long for federal judges in more than one jurisdiction to shoot down the mandate with injunctions — including one that applies nationwide.
Now, apparently for good measure, another judge in Florida has just handed down another injunction against the mandate in the Sunshine State, The Daily Wire reports — and along the way, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday shredded the Biden administration for what many believe amounts to gross federal overreach.
In his 38-page ruling, Judge Merryday scrutinized the Biden administration’s justification for the mandate — namely, that requiring vaccines for these workers is necessary for the economy and would reduce employee absenteeism, mitigate delays in procurement, and cut down on costs.
“The extent of any absenteeism attributable to COVID-19 among contractors and subcontractors is unexplained,” the judge noted. “The frequency and duration of any procurement delay attributable to COVID-19 is unexplained. The extent of any cost increases attributable to COVID-19 is unexplained.”
He added: “In other words, the extent of any procurement problem, past or future, attributable to COVID-19 is undemonstrated and is merely a hastily manufactured but unproven hypothesis about recent history and a contrived speculation about the future.”
The judge also suggested that the White House may have overstepped its authority with the mandate.
“Obviously, no massive extension and expansion of presidential power is necessary to cure a non-existent problem and certainly neither ‘good cause’ nor ‘urgent and compelling circumstances’ exists to justify summary disregard of the requirements of administrative law and rulemaking,” Merryday declared.
“Threadbare and conclusory”
Later in his ruling, the judge pointed to recent decisions out of Georgia, Kentucky, and Missouri, where judges have ruled against the vaccine mandate on federal contractors and imposed injunctions against it. Now, the Florida court has joined them.
Merryday condemned the “threadbare and conclusory rationalization” put forward by the government and intimated that it’s highly invasive to force the mandates on private employers and the state of Florida at large, which has passed laws prohibiting vaccine requirements by any public or private entities.
Given all of that, as well as the likelihood that Florida would suffer “irreparable harm” if the federal mandate were enforced, the judge concluded that a preliminary injunction was warranted and set a date of Jan. 21, 2022, for the government to respond with an appeal.
According to Axios, the case is but one of several across the country challenging the mandate on federal contractors. By the time they reach the circuit court level, it’s likely the cases against that mandate and others imposed by the Biden administration will be consolidated.
It’s also likely that the issue reaches the Supreme Court before all is said and done, reports claim. But only time will tell.