By Zachary Stieber
A federal court on Dec. 7 blocked President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
Georgia and other plaintiffs suing Biden over the mandate “will likely succeed in their claim that the president exceeded the authorization given to him by Congress,” U.S. District Judge R. Stan Baker, a Trump nominee, wrote in a 28-page decision agreeing to enter a preliminary injunction.
Baker barred Biden and his administration from enforcing the mandate in any state, an expansion of a Nov. 30 ruling that applied to just three states.
The mandate was going to take effect on Jan. 4, 2022, unless it was blocked by the courts. The deadline, originally delayed in November, was initially set for Dec. 8.
“Yet another one of President Biden’s vaccine mandates has been temporarily shut down because the states—including Idaho—took a stand against his unprecedented government overreach into Americans’ lives and businesses.” Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, said in a Dec. 7 statement.
Idaho, six other states, and the University of Georgia’s Board of Regents sued over the mandate in October, called Biden’s order illegal and overbroad.
The parties wrote in their suit: “The mandate, as the federal government has conceived, and thus far implemented, applies not only to contractor employees working on federal contracts, but also any employee that may have contact with someone working on a federal contract (even if that contact is nothing more than walking past them outside, in a parking lot). There are no exceptions for employees that work alone, outside, or even exclusively remotely.”
Without a preliminary injunction, companies without enough vaccinated employees would be forced to choose between firing them and losing government contracts, they added in a motion for an injunction.
Government lawyers later urged the court not to block the mandate, arguing there was “no reason to rush” on the matter since the mandate deadline had been delayed.
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Courts had already enjoined other Biden administration mandates, including one for private-sector employees and one for the majority of the health care workers in the country.
Judges have cast doubt on the legality of the mandates.
The orders have already led to the Biden administration suspending enforcement of the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandate, which covered some 84 million workers, and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services mandate, which covered more than 17 million workers.
The administration has urged facilities to still impose vaccine mandates.
“Nothing has changed” in terms of messaging to companies, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington last month.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.