Roofing contractors preparing their businesses for the Biden administration's new vaccine mandate were given a reprieve by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Appeals Court granted an emergency stay on the new mandate that businesses with 100 or more employees must vaccinate or regularly test workers. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule mere hours after the administration published its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to enforce the mandate.
In a written statement, Landry called the mandate an “egregious attack on the liberties and freedoms our great nation was built upon.”
"The Court’s action not only halts Biden from moving forward with his unlawful overreach, but it also commands the judicious review we sought,” Landry said. “The president will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by the Constitution."
The Department of Labor’s legal adviser, Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda, said the department is “confident in its legal authority to issue the emergency temporary standard on vaccination and testing.” According to OSHA, the ETS preempts and invalidates any state or local requirements that ban or limit an employer’s authority to require vaccinations, face coverings and COVID-19 testing.
Normally these circuit decisions only apply within a district, but Landry said the language employed by the judges gives the decision a national scope.
The ETS requires employers to have their workers vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear face masks by Jan. 4. OSHA can issue penalties of $13,653 per violation, and up to $136,532 per willful or repeated violation.
In its decision, the Appeals Court states the mandate was stayed pending further action because “the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the mandate.”
Louisiana joined Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah and businesses in its legal challenge. The Biden administration has continuously encouraged vaccinations as the quickest way to end the pandemic, saying the coronavirus has led to the deaths of 750,000 people in the U.S. since 2020.