WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court has upheld its lockdown on a federal mandate that all major employers require their workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly tests starting in January, stating that the rule is the authority of the labor protection agency, the issued it.
In a 22-page ruling on Friday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth District Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that a group of challengers to the Biden administration’s mandate are likely to succeed, claiming it was an unlawful one Exceeded and prevented the government from proceeding.
“From economic uncertainty to industrial action, the mere specter of the mandate has contributed to unexpected economic upheavals in recent months,” wrote Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt.
He added: “Of course, the principles governing the mandate cannot be reduced to dollars and cents. The maintenance of our constitutional structure and the preservation of the freedom of the individual to make very personal decisions based on their own convictions also serve the public interest – even or especially when these decisions frustrate government officials. “
He was accompanied by Judges Edith H. Jones and Kyle Duncan. All three are Republican MPs.
In a file asking the Fifth Ward to withdraw its residency that week, the Justice Department argued that the obligation of large employers to force their workers to get vaccinated or to undergo weekly tests is well within the powers of the Congress of the Occupational Safety and Health Agency. or OSHA. It also said blocking the mandate would have dire consequences.
The mandate’s entry into force “would likely cost tens or even hundreds of lives a day, in addition to large numbers of hospitalizations, other serious health implications and enormous costs,” the Justice Department said in its motion. “This is a confluence of damage of the highest order.”
The verdict of the Fifth Circuit Panel is unlikely to be the final say. Some challenges to the mandate are elsewhere and the cases will be consolidated before a randomly selected one of these jurisdictions. The Supreme Court is expected to make a final decision.
Dena Iverson, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the Biden administration would defend the mandate through this process.
“Today’s decision is just the beginning of the process to review this important OSHA standard,” she said in a statement. “The department will continue to vigorously defend the standard and looks forward to having a final resolution for further review after consolidating all pending cases.”
President Biden announced in September that his administration would give the mandate as one of several steps to try to increase vaccination rates and end the pandemic that has so far killed around 750,000 Americans. Other mandates were for federal employees and federal contractors.
At the beginning of November, OSHA, which is part of the Ministry of Labor, published the standard for companies with at least 100 employees. It would force them to make unvaccinated workers wear masks indoors from December 5th. Employees who remain unvaccinated by Jan. 4 would have to undergo weekly tests on the job.
The proposed regulation is an exception for employees who do not have close contact with other people at work, e.g. work at home or exclusively outdoors.
A coalition of plaintiffs – including several employers and Republican-controlled states – immediately challenged the employer mandate in court. Her lawsuit argued that the mandate was an unlawful violation of the powers that Congress had lawfully delegated to OSHA.
Among other things, they argued that, unlike occupational hazards such as asbestos, the agency has no power to regulate exposure to illness and that the wording of the mandate as an effort to ensure job security is just a pretext for the real motivation of the Biden government: Pressing Americans who refuse to be vaccinated.
Judge Englehardt’s verdict was very much in line with their point of view.
OSHA, he wrote, was created by Congress to ensure safe and healthy working conditions, but it was not designed to authorize a job security administration in the deep corners of the federal bureaucracy to make full statements on public health matters that affect every member of the Society in the EU concern the deepest kind. “
The judge also mocked the notion that the circumstances qualify as an emergency under the OSHA proposed rule issued by Congress on “emergencies”.
“The mandate’s declared impulse – an alleged ’emergency’ that the entire globe has endured for nearly two years and to which OSHA itself responded for almost two months – is also ineffective,” he wrote. “And its promulgation far exceeds the legal authority of OSHA.”
Some major employers have already announced vaccination mandates for their workforce, including 3M, Procter & Gamble, IBM, Tyson Foods, and airlines American, Alaska, JetBlue, and United. Most workers kept to it, only a few quit.
Former President Donald J. Trump appointed both Justice Englehardt and Justice Duncan in 2018. Judge Jones was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1985.