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5th Circuit Court of Appeals suspends Biden’s vaccine mandate

Published: Nov. 6, 2021 at 10:03 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 7, 2021 at 1:03 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Attempts to chip away at OSHA’s vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees saw success on Saturday, Nov. 6.

A federal panel ruled the mandate cannot be enforced after business owners across the South filed lawsuits with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

RELATED: Appeals court temporarily halts vaccine mandate on larger businesses

“Well, the OSHA mandate, first of all, is unconstitutional because it exceeds the authority that Congress gave to OSHA,” said Sarah Harbison with the Pelican Institute, which represents one of the business owners. “As I said earlier, OSHA is set up to respond to hazards that are in the workplace. That’s the authority that Congress has given them and they can’t exceed that authority.”

The mandate would have set a January deadline for companies to require workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or participate in weekly COVID tests. After that, the federal government would start issuing fines. The court’s ruling temporarily blocks any of that from happening. But Harbison said her clients are looking for a more permanent solution.

“We asked the court to first issue an emergency stay, which they did do. Second, we’ve asked that they issue a permanent injunction that would keep it from taking effect even after briefing and arguments are held,” she explained.

Harbison added she believes many other companies have filed similar lawsuits but theirs was just the first to make it through the door.

“You immediately file in the circuit court. You bypass the federal district court altogether. That’s why we’re in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals,” she continued.

According to Harbison, each challenge that has been submitted to a circuit court in other states will eventually have the opportunity to be reviewed as well.

“After about 10 days, I believe, all of the circuit courts that received these challenges, their circuit numbers will be placed in a hopper and there will be a drawing, kind of like Powerball. And the court that will ultimately hear all of these challenges will be selected at random drawing,” said Harbison.

She believes this case has the momentum to make it all the way to the US Supreme Court and added if the courts don’t stop the president’s actions here, she’s worried what could come next.

“If he’s using OSHA or the administrative procedure to implement his policy positions, where does it stop?” asked Harbison.

The White House has until 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 8, to respond to this latest challenge.

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