Federal appeals judge reinstates Biden’s OSHA vaccine mandate for private businesses

Many Americans were relieved earlier this month when a federal judge issued an injunction blocking President Joe Biden’s mandate requiring that all businesses with over 100 employees ensure their workers are vaccinated.

That relief proved to be short-lived, however, as Fox Business reported last week that the rule has just been reinstated by a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court. 

What happened?

Fox News reported on Dec. 7 that U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker ruled that Biden exceeded his authority by ordering the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to implement the vaccine mandate for private businesses.

“The Court acknowledges the tragic toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought throughout the nation and the globe,” Baker said in his ruling.

Nevertheless, he insisted that “this Court must preserve the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the bounds of their constitutionally granted authorities.”

Obama-appointed judge

According to Fox Business, the U.S. Appeals Court for the Sixth Circuit didn’t agree with Baker’s ruling and voted in a 2–1 decision to overturn the lower court’s ruling on Friday.

Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch, who was appointed to the federal judiciary by former President Barack Obama, explained the majority’s reasoning. 

“Recognizing that the ‘old normal’ is not going to return, employers and employees have sought new models for a workplace that will protect the safety and health of employees who earn their living there,” the judge wrote.

“In need of guidance on how to protect their employees from COVID-19 transmission while reopening business, employers turned to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,” Stranch continued.

She added: “The costs of delaying implementation of the [mandate] are comparatively high. Fundamentally, the [mandate] is an important step in curtailing the transmission of a deadly virus.”

Taking it to SCOTUS

A group called the Job Creators Network was among the large group of plaintiffs challenging the White House’s mandate, and it issued a statement lamenting the appeals court ruling.

“This mandate adds an incredible burden on small business owners who are still suffering negative effects of the pandemic,” a statement from the group read. “JCN has immediately asked the Supreme Court to save businesses and employees from this government overreach.”

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