Court temporarily blocks Biden’s vaccine mandate for large corporations

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A federal appeals panel in Louisiana temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s new safety regulations that require companies with over 100 workers to require their employees to get coronavirus vaccinations by early January.

The US Court of Appeals’ group of three for the Fifth Circuit granted temporary residence to a group of businesses, religious groups, advocacy organizations and several Republican-led states that had filed a joint petition in court, claiming that the administration had exceeded its authority.

Numerous republican-led states have filed legal appeals against the new rule, including Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah.

The court said in a short order, signed by a deputy chancellor, that the judges were blocking the regulation “because the petitions suggest there are serious statutory and constitutional issues with the warrant.” He said the rule was suspended “pending further action by this court.”

The two-page order did not elaborate on what the law’s constitutional and statutory problems were, nor did it provide any indication that the judges agreed with the law’s opponents. But he ordered the Biden administration to respond by 5pm Monday to the request for a permanent injunction from anti-rule groups.

Seema Nanda, chief legal officer of the U.S. Department of Labor, said in a statement that the government is confident in its legal authority to issue the temporary emergency standard on vaccinations and testing.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Act explicitly gives OSHA the authority to act quickly in an emergency where the agency detects that workers are in grave danger and a new standard is needed to protect them,” Ms. Nanda said.

“We are fully prepared to defend this standard in court,” he added.

The regulations are not expected to take effect until January 4. On Thursday, the Biden administration set that date as a deadline for large companies to enforce coronavirus vaccinations or begin weekly testing of their workers. The move was the government’s largest effort to enlist private companies in the fight against the virus.

The new rules they were developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and issued as a “temporary emergency standard”, invoking emergency powers in the field of workplace safety. Applying to companies with 100 or more, the mandate is expected to cover 84 million workers, including around 31 million unvaccinated. It details the details of a plan first announced by President Biden in September.

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