The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that the department will not implement the Biden vaccine mandate after a federal court ordered its temporary suspension after several states and businesses sued the mandate as unconstitutional. On its website, OSHA said that while it “remains confident” that it has the authority to implement the mandate, the department will not implement it “pending future developments in the litigation”.
The U.S. Fifth Court of Appeals ordered the suspension of the mandate back on November 6, and after hearing arguments from the plaintiffs and the government the court decided to extend the suspension of the Biden vaccine mandate on November 12.
The Court argued in its 22-page decision that while OSHA had the authority to ensure the workplace safety of Americans, the U.S. Constitution does not give power to an executive office to “make sweeping pronouncements on matters of public health affecting every member of society in the profoundest of ways”. The court criticized the mandate for being both “overinclusive”, as it applies to workers from basically all industries and sectors, and “underinclusive” as the order has no measures to ensure the safety of employees in companies with less than 100 workers.
Although the Biden vaccine mandate has suffered a temporary setback, the decision of the Fifth Circuit is not final, and it is very likely for the vaccine mandate to continue being challenged through the federal court system until either the administration relents its intention to implement the directive or the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes and issues a final decision on the issue.
The administration has vowed to continue its defense of the mandate, with a spokesperson claiming that the decision was just the “beginning of the process for review” and that the Department of Justice will continue to “vigorously defend” the Biden vaccine mandate and that it is looking forwards for the courts to reach “definitive resolution” over the mandate.
What’s in the Biden vaccine mandate and who opposes it?
Just a few days of being elected President, Joe Biden said during a press conference that he did not agree on forcing Americans to get a vaccine once it became widely available. However, the President made a 180-degree turn this year when his administration announced on September 9 a nationwide vaccine mandate aimed at companies with more than 100 employees.
The order has received significant opposition throughout the country. GOP-led states have been among the ones filing lawsuits against the constitutionality of the mandate while lawmakers have also joined the criticisms over the mandate. However, it has not only been conservative politicians who have expressed some resistance to the order of the Biden White House, with a survey of business leaders made by the Committee of Economic Development showing that a quarter of leaders strongly oppose the mandate.
Labor Unions, who have been historic supporters of the Democratic Party, are divided on the issue of vaccine mandates, with many unions arguing that while they support vaccines they are not in favor of forcing employees to get them. A good example of this opposition is that expressed by the labor union of Southwest Airlines, who has filed a lawsuit against the company over its implementation of the Biden Vaccine mandate.
There have also been concerns over the effects this mandate could have on the national security, with an Associated Press article explaining that a substantial amount of the workforce of the intelligence community would be fired due to their non-compliance over the Biden vaccine mandate.