A federal district court judge in Frankfort, Kentucky has issued a preliminary injunction against the Biden Administration’s mandate for COVID vaccines for federal contractors and subcontractors. The injunction applies to federal contracts in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, the three states that filed the legal challenge.
The judge held that the vaccine mandate exceeded presidential authority granted in two federal procurement statutes, and also voiced concern as to whether the mandate violated constitutional prohibitions against Congress delegating its legislative authority to the Executive Branch without providing an intelligible principle to guide its use of discretion in rulemaking.
The judge also ruled that this exercise of power is not granted to the President, but is reserved to the States under the Constitution.
This is the first decision on the merits in cases challenging the federal contractor mandate. There are at least eight similar cases pending in federal district courts around the country, and other district court judges might reach different conclusions or grant injunctions affecting contracts in other states. Ultimately, the appellate courts will weigh in on these questions as the expected appeals move forward.
In addition, a federal court of appeals stay against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standard requiring employers with more than 100 employees to ensure their employees are vaccinated against COVID or submit to weekly testing and masking in the workplace remains in effect. A number of similar appeals of the OSHA mandate (over 30 in all) have been consolidated for consideration in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
The court of appeals decision granting the stay directed that OSHA take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order. In response to the stay, OSHA has ceased working to implement the Emergency Temporary Standard while the court cases are pending.
This GAWDA Safety Alert is issued by GAWDA Consultant Rick Schweitzer, Esq.
Please contact Rick for further information.