A federal appeals court ruled Monday the Biden administration cannot compel federal contractors not to follow its plans for a COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
The mandate was voted down by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit. Judges ruled that the government’s argument to impose the mandate would permit presidents to unilaterally impose healthcare decisions on one-fifth all Americans. We decline to do so.”
The U.S. government has contracts with thousands of businesses, and the courts have ruled that this issue could impact 20% of U.S. workers.
According to court records, Judge Kurt Engelhardt authored the majority opinion. He stated that the Biden administration would have “nearly unlimited authority” to insert requirements into federal contracts if they voted for the government.
Engelhardt offered a hypothetical scenario in his ruling. He stated that the president could order federal contractors employees to lower their body mass index (BMI) below a specific number, based on the theory of obesity being a major contributor to absenteism and unhealthiness.
In court filings, the Justice Department supported the mandate, arguing that Biden’s order was valid. Judge James Graves voted to confirm the mandate. He issued a long dissent stating that Biden’s order was valid under the Procurement Act.
Graves stated that if actions are taken in the main stream of American businesses, it points to the approval of the executive order. “Economic considerations would stop the president from handcuffing the contractor workforce with severe contractual terms.”
This case was brought to the Biden administration’s attention by a challenge from Louisiana, Indiana and Mississippi. A district court issued guidance last year and issued a nationwide blocking order in December 2021.
The August 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling limited the order of the lower court to the parties who challenged the mandate.
In October, the Office of Management and Budget advised agencies not to enforce their contractor mandate. They stated that active court orders limit enforcement in certain locations and for some entities.
The Washington Examiner reached out to the White House in an attempt to get a response.