A federal appeals court has blocked president Joe Biden’s order to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for Government employees.
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected arguments that Biden has the same authority as the CEO of a private corporation to require vaccine mandates.
As The New York Post reported:
The ruling from the full appeals court, 16 full-time judges at the time the case was argued, reversed an earlier ruling by a three-judge 5th Circuit panel that had upheld the vaccination requirement. Judge Andrew Oldham, nominated to the court by then-President Donald Trump, wrote the opinion for a 10-member majority.
The ruling maintains the status quo for federal employee vaccines. It upholds a preliminary injunction blocking the mandate issued by a federal judge in January 2022. At that point, the administration said nearly 98% of covered employees had been vaccinated.
The case will return to that court for further arguments after “both sides will have to grapple with the White House’s announcement that the COVID emergency will finally end on May 11, 2023,” Oldham noted
The policy’s opponents argued the proposed mandate encroached on federal workers’ lives.
In 2021, Biden issued an executive order requiring vaccinations for all executive branch agency employees, with the exception of those with medical and religious reasons.
But U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown issued a nationwide injunction against the requirement.
The case then went to the 5th Circuit.
The court rejected Biden’s argument that they have the same rights as a private corporation to force vaccine mandates.
However, one panel of three 5th Circuit judges refused to block the law.
Another panel, after hearing Biden’s arguments, upheld the president’s position.
Judges Carl Stewart and James Dennis, both nominated by President Bill Clinton, were in the majority.
Judge Rhesa Barksdale dissented, saying the relief the challengers sought does not fall under the Civil Service Reform Act cited by the administration.
The broader court majority agreed, saying federal law does not preclude court jurisdiction over cases involving “private, irreversible medical decisions made in consultation with private medical professionals outside the federal workplace.”
Judge Stephen Higginson, a former President Barack Obama nominee, wrote the main dissenting opinion.
“For the wrong reasons, our court correctly concludes that we do have jurisdiction,” Higginson wrote. “But contrary to a dozen federal courts — and having left a government motion to stay the district court’s injunction pending for more than a year — our court still refuses to say why the President does not have the power to regulate workplace safety for his employees.”
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