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Judges double down on decision to block vaccine mandate on bigger businesses

Judges double down on the decision to block vaccine mandate on bigger businesses.
Judges double down on the decision to block vaccine mandate on bigger businesses.(MGN)
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 7:32 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WAFB) - Late Friday, Nov. 12, a panel of judges with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals doubled down on their decision to pause a federal vaccine mandate on bigger businesses.

The panel initially ruled the mandate cannot be enforced last week after business owners across the South filed lawsuits.

Those business owners argue the Biden administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) overstepped by implementing the mandate which requires businesses with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations against COVID-19 and enforce weekly tests for the virus among unvaccinated employees.

In response to the lawsuit, the Biden administration defended its mandate by writing any decision to overturn the mandate completely, “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”

The panel of judges chose to reaffirm their decision Friday, despite that defense.

“...Health agencies do not make housing policy, and occupational safety administrations do not make health policy,” the latest ruling states. “In seeking to do so here, OSHA runs afoul of the statute from which it draws its power and, likely, violates the constitutional structure that safeguards our collective liberty.”

Judges on the panel specifically took issue with the broadness of the mandate, which they say fails to acknowledge the diverse workplaces that would be impacted.

“...Rather than a delicately handled scalpel, the Mandate is a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces (and workers) that have more than a little bearing on workers’ varying degrees of susceptibility to the supposedly “grave danger” the Mandate purports to address,” the latest ruling states.

The latest ruling does not fully toss out the mandate, it simply pauses any enforcement until court challenges have been heard or the judges choose to allow it to move forward.

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