A federal appeals court in New Orleans has halted the Biden administration’s vaccine or testing requirement for private businesses that employ 100 or more workers, but excluding remote workers.
A three-judge panel determined that the rule, which was couched as having the authority of the Labor Department and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "grossly exceeds OSHA's statutory authority."
The decision was handed down by Judges Kurt D. Engelhardt, Edith H. Jones and Stuart Kyle Duncan.
“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,” they wrote. They added that the ruling leveled a financial burden on businesses and could possibly be violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, by imposing severe fines and forcing them to fire employees who refuse to take the vaccine, a weekly test alternative.
President Biden's vaccine mandate was released the week of October 31.
The judges declared there is to be no further attempt by OSHA to implement or enforce the mandate, which remains suspended in mid-air, pending a judicial lottery expected for this week, which will consolidate a number of challenges to the mandate before a single appeals court.
Washington lawmakers remain exempt from any such rulings.