Federal appeals court temporarily halts Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate for private employers 

A federal appeals court on Saturday issued a stay temporarily halting the Biden administration’s private-employer COVID vaccine mandate, citing, “grave statutory and constitutional” issues with the requirement.

“Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the mandate, the mandate is hereby stayed pending further action by this court,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said in the order.

The case was brought by multiple businesses and several states, including Texas, Utah, Louisiana, South Carolina and Mississippi. They argued the requirements exceed the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which will enforce the mandates, and amount to an unconstitutional delegation of power to the executive branch by Congress.

The Biden administration on Monday asked the federal court to lift the order blocking the mandate for large private employers. The administration said the petitioners were not claiming a “major prospect of harm” from the rule, so the court should allow the mandate to proceed while the case makes its way through the system.

“Accordingly, there is no need to address petitioners’ stay motions now, and the court should lift its administrative stay and allow this matter to proceed under the process that Congress set forth for judicial review of OSHA standards,” lawyers for the administration argued.

The White House on Monday said businesses should move forward with Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses, despite a federal court order temporarily halting the rules, CNBC reported.

“People should not wait,” White House Deputy Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during a press briefing. “They should continue to move forward and make sure they’re getting their workplace vaccinated.”

The OSHA regulation applies to employers with at least 100 workers, creating an emergency temporary rule that will require employers to mandate workers be vaccinated against COVID or submit to regular testing. A deadline for companies to comply with the regulation was set for Jan. 4.

Petitioners said the mandate, publicized as an emergency temporary standard by OSHA, should be struck down because it exceeds OSHA’s authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

More than two dozen states have filed lawsuits against the Biden administration over the vaccine mandate for large private employers in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th and D.C. Circuits. Federal law dictates cases be consolidated and heard by one federal appeals court chosen by a lottery.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the lottery could take place on or around Nov. 16, and the case could make its way to the Supreme Court.