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Biden Begs Judge To Reinstate Workplace Vaccine Mandate

Joe Biden’s administration went to court on Tuesday to beg a federal judge to reinstate a workplace vaccine mandate that was put on hold earlier this month. This is part of their efforts to boost vaccination numbers as we head into the winter months.

Court papers [1] filed overnight show that the Biden administration is calling on a Cincinnati-based federal appeals court to lift a court order that blocks the public health rule, which requires larger businesses to force employees to either receive the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to regular testing and mask-wearing.

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“Delaying this standard would endanger many thousands of people and would likely cost many lives per day,” lawyers representing the government argued. “With the reopening of workplaces and the emergence of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the threat to workers is ongoing and overwhelming.”

OSHA filed the lengthy 55-page brief, and legal experts said that it highlighted just how important this round of litigation is to the mandate’s long-term prospects.

“Because the emergency standard can only be in effect for six months, its fate rests mostly on the outcome of this stay motion,” Sean M. Marotta, a partner at the law firm Hogan Lovells, told The Hill [3].

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This came after the New Orleans-based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit temporarily blocked, or stayed, the rule in an order that the government has made the subject of its latest filing. The 5th Circuit ruling described the mandate as “fatally flawed” and ordered that OSHA not enforce the requirement “pending adequate judicial review” of a motion for a permanent injunction.

NBC News [5] reported that the Biden administration argued that the stay was wrongly imposed because the companies and states seeking the hold can’t show that “their claimed injuries outweigh the interest in protecting employees from a dangerous virus while this litigation proceeds.” The Biden administration added that claims of injury “are speculative and depend heavily on minor compliance costs or predictions about how employees may respond that are at odds with empirical evidence addressed by the agency.”

A total of 27 Republican states have fought back against the rule.

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“The answer will affect the personal health decisions of tens of millions of Americans, coast to coast,” the states said in a court filing. “It will determine whether private companies — many of which are still struggling to survive the economic carnage inflicted by COVID-19 — must invest resources helping the federal government run a mass-vaccination program.”