The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a previous decision to temporarily block the Department of Labor’s vaccine mandate Friday evening in a blow to President Joe Biden’s agenda.
The three-judge panel wrote that the mandate likely “violates the constitutional structure that safeguards our collective liberty.” The appellate court’s ruling added that the mandate was “staggeringly overbroad.”
On Sept. 9, Biden authorized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to craft a rule requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate workers to either get a COVID-19 vaccine or submit weekly tests proving they aren’t infected with the virus. While the administration said the mandate was in response to an emergency surge of coronavirus cases, it was officially published on Nov. 4 and won’t go into effect until early 2022.
“Applying to 2 out of 3 private-sector employees in America, in workplaces as diverse as the country itself, the Mandate fails to consider what is perhaps the most salient fact of all: the ongoing threat of COVID-19 is more dangerous to some employees than to other employees,” the Fifth Circuit ruling continued.
The judges added that a “28-year-old trucker” who spends his workday alone is less at risk from coronavirus than a 62-year-old prison janitor. The mandate fails to consider the nuances of different workplaces and workers’ different exposure risks, the court said.
“Likewise, a naturally immune unvaccinated worker is presumably at less risk than an unvaccinated worker who has never had the virus,” the ruling said. “The list goes on, but one constant remains—the Mandate fails almost completely to address, or even respond to, much of this reality and common sense.”
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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