Federal Court Refuses to Suspend Biden Vaccine Mandate.
WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal court on Friday declined to lift its suspension of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for companies with 100 or more workers.
The New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted an emergency stay last Saturday of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s requirement that those workers be vaccinated by January 4 or face mask requirements and weekly testing.
Lawyers from the Justice and Labor departments presented an answer On Monday they said that halting the entry into force of the mandate will only prolong the COVID-19 pandemic and that it “would cost tens or even hundreds of lives per day.”
But the appeals court rejected that argument on Friday. Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt wrote that the suspension “is firmly in the public interest.”
“From economic uncertainty to conflict in the workplace, the sheer specter of the Mandate has contributed to unspeakable economic turmoil in recent months,” Engelhardt wrote.
At least 27 states have filed legal challenges in at least six federal appeals courts after OSHA published its rules on Nov. 4.
The federal government said in its court papers Monday that the cases should be consolidated and that one of the circuit courts where a challenge that has been filed must be chosen at random on Nov. 16 to hear it.
Attorneys for the administration said there is no reason to hold the vaccine’s mandate on hold while the court where the cases ultimately land remains undetermined.