The Biden administration has until tomorrow to explain why the court shouldn’t levy a permanent injunction.
A federal appeals court has put a temporary block on the Biden administration’s requirement that any business with more than 100 employees ensure that its workers are either fully vaccinated or subjected to regular coronavirus testing.
According to National Public Radio, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay of the new rule, which was published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the Federal Register this past Friday.
In its ruling, the appeals panel cited “grave statutory and constitutional issues” inherent to the order.
However, the court did not provide any further detail.
The Texas Tribune notes that, if the vaccine requirement were to take effect, it could preempt state- and local-level laws. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, for instance, earlier this year issued a ban against vaccine mandates.
Robert Henneke, general counsel for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which was involved in the filing of the lawsuit, said the circuit’s quick turn-around shows that Biden’s order was not constitutional.
“The quick turnaround by the Fifth Circuit to stay the mandate signifies the deep and obvious constitutional problems with the federal government’s private employer vaccine mandate,” Henneke said in a statement. “That should send a message to the White House the mandate is not only ill-conceived but unconstitutional.”
While the stay is temporary, conservative attorneys general have already presented the ruling as a major victory.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, for instead, said the panel’s stay will stop President Biden “from moving forward with his unlawful overreach.”
“The president will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by the constitution [sic],” Landry said in a statement.
However, the Biden administration has said that it is fully prepared to defend the vaccine mandate in court.
Shortly after the ruling, Seema Nanda, chief legal officer for the U.S. Department of Labor, said that the agency will respond to the circuit’s stay shortly.
The Texas Tribune notes that the Biden administration has until Monday to respond to its opponents’ request for a permanent injunction.
If a permanent injunction is approved, then the vaccine mandate would be indefinitely barred from taking effect, excepting any further legal action by the administration or conservative attorneys general.
“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 in a statement.
Despite the administration’s determination, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had already taken to Twitter to celebrate.
“WE WON,” Paxton tweeted after the ruling.
Paxton, adds the Tribune, is still fighting his own lawsuit against the government’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal contractors.