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Fate of Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for employers now at conservative-leaning appeals court

<i>Sergio Flores/Getty Images</i><br/>The Biden administration's vaccine mandate targeting businesses with more than 100 employees is now before the conservative-leaning Ohio-based 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals
Getty Images
Sergio Flores/Getty Images
The Biden administration's vaccine mandate targeting businesses with more than 100 employees is now before the conservative-leaning Ohio-based 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals

By Ariane de Vogue, Kaitlan Collins and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

The Biden administration’s vaccine mandate targeting businesses with more than 100 employees is now before the conservative-leaning Ohio-based 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which could soon decide its fate.

Late Wednesday, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which has blocked the mandate, transferred its case to the 6th Circuit, where 34 challenges filed nationwide will be consolidated after that court was picked through a lottery on Tuesday. The Justice Department is expected to file a motion with the 6th Circuit to try to vacate the order blocking the mandate.

In the meantime, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which falls under the US Labor Department, is complying with a directive from the 5th Circuit panel, according to a statement on its website. The agency is no longer reaching out to large private companies to help them comply with the emergency rule that mandates vaccinations or weekly testing for employees and is instead waiting for the court to make a decision.

The mandate represents President Joe Biden’s most controversial push to date to ensure that as many Americans as possible are vaccinated against Covid-19, especially after the emergence of the highly transmissible Delta strain of the virus. Eighty-four million workers at large employers would be covered by the rules implemented by OSHA.

“Vaccination is the single best pathway out of this pandemic,” the President said in a statement earlier this month. “And while I would have much preferred that requirements not become necessary, too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good.”

But immediately after being announced, the mandate came under challenge from Republican-led states and some private employers, who say OSHA overstepped its authority in issuing such a rule.

After the first wave of lawsuits, however, liberal-leaning unions joined in, arguing in some cases that OSHA has the authority to go further and issue a more stringent mandate. Both sides filed their disputes in circuits they thought might be the most favorable to their positions. Under a statute governing OSHA, all 34 lawsuits from across the country filed in 12 different courts of appeals are required to be consolidated and handled by one court chosen by lottery.

The 6th Circuit has more than twice as many judges appointed by Republican presidents as those appointed by Democrats.

“The Sixth Circuit is a favorable draw for mandate challengers, one of the best they could have hoped for. The court has many Trump-appointed judges skeptical of broad assertions of agency authority, and this is their chance to cement that reputation,” Sean Marotta, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells who follows multi-circuit issues closely, previously told CNN.

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  1. The evil “mandate” will be thrown out by the court, not because the court is “right leaning” but because the mandate is unconstitutional. The mandate came about because Biden’s handlers wanted to divert our attention from the massively botched Afghanistan withdrawal. And it was totally successful in that attention diversion, at the expense of a massive upset to millions of people.

  2. Where is the reporting about OSHA dropping it’s company mandate for vaccination? Lots of stories when it first got pushed through but silence when it was dropped. What is up with that Barney? Any ideas? Seems like a big story that is getting buried…

      1. Then try reading this… “Nearly One Third Of Healthcare Workers In U.S. Hospitals Are Still Not Vaccinated Against Covid-19, CDC Study Finds, As Vaccine Mandate Looms”…… This has nothing to do with conservative views- these people come from a variety of party affiliations. Shame on CNN for promoting such divisive hate.

      2. Feel free to cite an article discussing it from an actual mainstream media outlet other than Fox. Can you? OSHA didn’t suspend it because they think they will win my friend.

  3. Doesn’t matter. Scores of big companies were praying for the mandate so they could use it as cover to force their employees to get the damn shot already. Companies have had it with you being sick or needing to quarantine, and they just want to get back to the business of making money off of your hard work, which they cant do if you have Covid. Now that the wheels are in motion, not one single fortune 500 corporation will u-turn and say “never mind forget it do what you want”. Their mandates are already in place, and if you don’t get the vaccine you’re still an sol pariah looking for a job from your Uncle Louis at his landscaping business…

    1. It doesn’t matter if yer not out in the workforce- or a company of 99 or less. Those individuals have no idea the time-money-resources that Brown’s mandates have sucked dry. I don’t know a single company in predominantly Red CO that is demanding their employees get this experimental jab- I said it a long time ago- this stupidity will climb the ranks of the court systems- and will be tossed on it’s ear for being unconstitutional- so lets not have any whining when the Courts get the chance to step up and protect our God given rights as explained in the US constitution.

  4. How about the white house telling companies to defy a court order and still continue with the forced vaccination of their employees. Nice to see the white house doesn’t follow the law. Pretty sure us common folk would be jailed. But hey you can choose what law to follow as long as it’s for “the good of the people”.

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