(LifeSiteNews) — A federal appeals court has temporarily halted the Biden administration’s COVID-19 injection mandate that would require businesses with 100 or more employees to force workers to either get the experimental shot or be subject to weekly testing and other requirements.
The three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (all of whom are Republican-appointees) issued the Saturday decision in response to a request for a stay submitted by Texas, Utah, Mississippi and South Carolina, as well as a group of businesses that argued they would be negatively affected by the mandate.
The move came just days after the Biden administration released its 490-page document outlining the mandate, which was enacted under the auspices of an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Set to take effect January 4, 2022, the mandate would force employers to “develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy” or require workers to “undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.”
The rule would impact some 84 million Americans and slam noncompliant businesses with hefty financial penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation. The U.S. Department of Labor has also suggested it may consider expanding the requirement to include businesses with fewer than 100 employees, potentially impacting every adult American.
In its short ruling Saturday freezing the mandate, the Fifth Circuit Court opined that the petitions made by the states and businesses “give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.”
BREAKING: The Federal Court of Appeals just issued a temporary halt to Biden’s vaccine mandate.
Emergency hearings will take place soon.
We will have our day in court to strike down Biden’s unconstitutional abuse of authority. pic.twitter.com/8utmU05vw3
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 6, 2021
“[T]he Mandate is hereby STAYED pending further action by this court,” the panel declared, adding that the ETS will be subject to “expedited judicial review.”
In the meantime, the court has ordered the federal government to “respond to the petitioners’ motion for a permanent injunction by 5:00 PM on Monday, November 8,” while the petitioners will file any reply made by the government by 5:00 PM on Tuesday, November 9.
Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda said in a statement that the Labor Department is “confident in its legal authority” to force businesses to mandate COVID-19 jabs or weekly testing for employees, Reuters reported.
“The Occupational Safety and Health Act explicitly gives OSHA the authority to act quickly in an emergency where the agency finds that workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them,” Nanda said, adding the Labor Department is “fully prepared to defend this standard in court.”
Though Nanda stressed the “emergency” situation necessitating the OSHA mandate, the rule comes nearly two months after it was announced by President Joe Biden, and even if upheld by the courts will not take effect until the beginning of next year.
The court’s decision to temporarily halt the mandate has been met with approval by conservatives, who have argued that the sweeping requirement violates the U.S. Constitution and ought to be struck down.
“It is encouraging to see the Fifth Circuit stay @POTUS‘s unconstitutional vaccine mandate,” wrote Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. “It’s now time for President Biden to make the right choice and rescind the mandate altogether.”
It is encouraging to see the Fifth Circuit stay @POTUS‘s unconstitutional vaccine mandate. It’s now time for President Biden to make the right choice and rescind the mandate altogether.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) November 6, 2021
Likewise, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge praised the court’s action against the president’s “illegal vaccine mandate,” promising to “continue this fight for Arkansans because you will NOT be forced to decide between a shot & losing your job.”
Once again, attorneys general are the true last line of defense! Today, the Fifth Circuit issued a temporary stay against Pres. Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate. I will continue this fight for Arkansans because you will NOT be forced to decide between a shot & losing your job. pic.twitter.com/feoy2FjWqJ
— Leslie Rutledge (@AGRutledge) November 6, 2021
It is unclear how long the stay issued by the federal court will be in effect, but the language of the ruling indicates the mandate will face serious judicial scrutiny.
“The stay of the mandate is only temporary,” noted Ilya Somin, a Professor of Law at George Mason University. “And – as the court suggests – may be lifted after ‘expedited judicial review,’ which could happen very soon, given the accelerated briefing schedule laid out in order.”
Somin observed that the Fifth Circuit’s statement declaring there to be “grave statutory and constitutional issues” indicates that the federal judges “think there is a serious case to be made against the mandate” and that they do not view the requirement as “a slam dunk for the federal government.”
“This is just the beginning of the legal battle over the OSHA ETS vaccination mandate,” Somin continued. “Even if the Fifth Circuit panel ultimately rules against the Biden administration, that won’t necessarily be the end of the legal battle over this issue. Much depends on how broad the ruling is, and on what grounds. It’s possible OSHA could respond to a narrow ruling against it by limiting the scope of the mandate or adjusting it in some other way. It’s also possible that a lower-court ruling against OSHA might be reversed or limited by the Supreme Court.”
Somin suggested that attorneys arguing on behalf of the federal government’s mandate are put on the back foot by the Fifth Circuit’s ruling.
“If a panel of federal circuit court judges says the policy you are defending may have ‘grave statutory and constitutional issues,’ that’s rarely a good sign for your case,” the law professor said.
While the Fifth Circuit Court was the first to issue a stay of the controversial mandate, a raft of lawsuits challenging the Biden administration’s COVID-19 jab mandate have been filed in other courts throughout the country. To date, the attorneys general of some 26 U.S. states have filed legal challenges against the mandate.
On Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his state was also taking legal action against the Biden administration for the mandate, filing suit in the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
We will stand up for the Constitution, Floridians’ rights, and we will fight this unlawful executive edict. pic.twitter.com/vTPqEzHmuV
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) November 6, 2021
“Individuals should make informed choices about their own health care. They shouldn’t be coerced into getting a jab,” DeSantis said. “In this situation, you’re going to have people that are going to have to make that decision: do you get fired from your job or do you do this, that’s something you may not want to do.”
DeSantis also warned, “Those individuals who have gone through a normal vaccination series for COVID—you will be determined to be unvaccinated very soon…They’re gonna to tell you: ‘You have to get a booster, otherwise you could face loss of employment.’”
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
If upheld by the courts, the Biden administration’s COVID-19 mandate could have serious consequences for those who choose not to comply. Employees who refuse to get the experimental shot would face termination from their positions while businesses that do not enforce the government’s rules could be hit with serious financial penalties.
More broadly, conservative thinkers have expressed concern that the divisive mandate could cause severe labor shortages and economic fallout in a nation already struggling to re-emerge from an artificial recession amid skyrocketing inflation.
Many Americans remain concerned that the vaccines have not been sufficiently studied for negative effects given their accelerated clinical trials, and some harbor ethical reservations about the use of cells from aborted babies in their development. Still other simply consider them unnecessary given COVID-19’s high survivability among most groups, low risk of asymptomatic spread, and research indicating that post-infection natural immunity is equally protective against reinfection.
The list of FDA-recognized adverse events to the COVID-19 shots have grown from severe anaphylactic reactions to include fatal thrombotic events, the inflammatory heart condition myocarditis, and neurologically disabling disease like Guillain Barré Syndrome, as well as thousands of recorded deaths and permanent disabilities.
LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.