Following a Nov. 12 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on Wednesday, Nov. 17 it has halted all actions related to Joe Biden's vaccine mandate demanding employers with 100 or more employees require vaccination or COVID-19 testing. Issued under the pretense of an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), per the court's ruling, OSHA was ordered to take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order.
As previously reported by UncoverDC, the president's draconian mandate plans to force private employers with 100 or more employees to enforce that they either receive an experimental COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing and masking. By offering the option for testing and masking in the first paragraph of the nearly 500-page ETS, the government appeared to acknowledge that it cannot legally mandate large employers require the COVID-19 jab.
The Biden administration unveiled the president's private employer vaccine demand in early September with the announcement of his COVID-19 action plan, 'Path Out Of The Pandemic." The ETS that followed, published on Nov. 5, justified the overreaching measures by declaring the grave danger posed by the pandemic along with the path out of danger purportedly offered by the experimental vaccines. Still, OSHA took almost two months to construct the guidelines, which were immediately met with a flurry of lawsuits.
One day after its release, on Nov. 6, the court swiftly halted the rule pending further litigation, which was again upheld on Nov. 12 and further instructed the Biden administration to "take no steps to implement or enforce" it, finding that the states and businesses challenging the rule "show a great likelihood of success on the merits." In a press release on Wednesday declaring the agency's immediate pause, OSHA proclaimed:
"On Nov. 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA's COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, published on Nov. 5, 2021 (86 Fed. Reg. 61402) ("ETS"). The court ordered that OSHA "take no steps to implement or enforce" the ETS "until further court order." While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation."
On Tuesday, after a lottery conducted by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, it was determined that the legal fight over Joe Biden's OSHA ETS mandate would be heard before the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In all, nearly three dozen lawsuits have been filed in all eleven federal regional circuits plus one for the District of Columbia.
The lawsuits—brought by numerous Republican-controlled states, private businesses, and religious groups—argue that the rule exceeds the Department of Labor's authority and Congress' ability to delegate to federal agencies. Additionally, the claims maintain it violates the First Amendment, the Constitution's Commerce Clause, and laws protecting religious freedom, among other constitutional arguments.
The Biden administration has insisted its ETS—supported by the American Medical Association—is on solid legal footing. The president's legal team will now issue its response to the order in the 6th Circuit, which has 16 judges: five appointed by Democrats and eleven appointed by Republicans, with six of them appointed by former President Donald Trump.