US Court of Appeals Confirms Biden COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

A U.S. appeals court confirmed its decision on Friday to suspend an order from President Joe Biden for companies with 100 or more workers to require COVID-19 vaccines, rejecting a challenge from his administration.

A three-member panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed its ruling despite the Biden administration’s position that halting implementation of the vaccine mandate could result in dozens or even hundreds of deaths.

“The mandate is astonishingly too broad,” the opinion said.

“The mandate is a one-size-fits-all mallet that barely attempts to account for differences in workplaces (and workers),” Circuit Court Judge Kurt Engelhardt wrote to the panel.

Vaccine mandates are deeply controversial in the United States. Supporters say they are imperative to ending the nearly two-year-old coronavirus pandemic, while opponents argue that they violate the United States Constitution and hold back individual freedom.

Anti-vaccine protesters hold signs during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine march on the Sea Point waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa (credit: REUTERS / MIKE HUTCHINGS)

The Fifth Circuit judges appeared to agree with the opponents.

“The public interest also benefits by maintaining our constitutional structure and by maintaining the freedom of individuals to make intensely personal decisions in accordance with their own convictions, even, or perhaps particularly, when those decisions frustrate government officials,” Engelhardt wrote.

The rule was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and requires companies with at least 100 employees to require staff to be vaccinated or face weekly testing and face mask requirements.

White House officials had no immediate comment on the ruling, which was hailed as a victory by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Texas joined other US states, as well as private employers and religious organizations, in legal challenges to the order.

“Citing the ‘compelling argument’ from Texas, the Fifth Circuit has suspended OSHA’s unconstitutional and illegal private business vaccine mandate,” Paxton said on Twitter.

Biden imposed the requirement in September, telling Americans that “our patience is wearing thin” with those who refuse to get vaccinated.

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