Federal appeals court upholds decision temporarily blocking OSHA vaccine mandate

President Joe Biden encountered a widespread backlash after attempting to implement his lastest COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Recent reports indicate that a federal court has upheld a prior decision to prevent the sweeping requirements from going into effect.

Background on the case

The president announced in September that he had tasked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with developing a special emergency rule requiring vaccines or weekly testing for private companies with 100 employees or more.

OSHA subsequently announced that the new rule had been completed, giving Americans working for impacted employers until Jan. 4 to either receive their vaccinations or begin weekly testing. Employers who fail to comply have been threatened with large fines.

Shortly after the new rule was announced, Republican attorneys general from more than two dozen states presented challenges to it. As part of that opposition, the state-level officials asked the courts to prevent the new rule from being implemented until after litigation in the matter had concluded.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a temporary stay that granted the request, which prompted the Biden administration to respond in several ways.

First, the White House urged employers to ignore the court order and simply implement the vaccine requirement anyway. It also filed an appeal arguing that the court decision would “likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”

“A one-size-fits-all sledgehammer”

On Friday, the Fifth Circuit court reaffirmed its initial stay, ordering OSHA to “take no steps to implement or enforce the Mandate until further court order.”

In a unanimous decision, Judge Kurt Engelhardt wrote that the mandate exposes private employers “to severe financial risk” while threatening “to decimate their workforces.”

The latest ruling criticized the mandate as “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.”

For now, at least, the Biden administration’s mandate will not be going into effect — and GOP officials including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the news.

“WE WON!” Paxton tweeted. “Litigation will continue, but this is a massive victory for [Texas] and for FREEDOM from Biden’s tyranny and lawlessness.”

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