Appeals Court Rules to Keep Block on Vaccine Mandate

5th Circuit says rule oversteps OSHA authority
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2021 11:55 AM CST
Appeals Court Rules to Keep Block on Vaccine Mandate
President Joe Biden arrives to speak about the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 from the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington Nov. 3.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A federal appeals court that hit pause on a Biden administration vaccine requirement ruled Friday to block it. A requirement that businesses with 100 or more employees have staff get vaccinated or be masked and tested weekly was scheduled to go into effect Jan. 4. Three judges in the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, ruled that the Labor Department rule oversteps OSHA’s authority and could cost businesses too much, the Washington Post reports. The policy, which is less stringent than many companies’ policies and local government requirements, has broad public support. At stake is a penalty of almost $14,000 per violation, per USA Today.

The rule was quickly challenged by dozens of lawsuits and frozen last week. Much of the opposition came from states with conservative leadership. “Litigation will continue, but this is a massive victory for Texas,” Ken Paxton, Texas’s attorney general, tweeted. In a filing earlier this week urging the court not to block the requirement, the Justice Department argued that blocking it would “likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day, in addition to large numbers of hospitalizations, other serious health effects and tremendous costs,” per the New York Times. The case is expected to go to the Supreme Court. (More vaccine mandate stories.)

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