A U.S. appeals court upheld its decision to put a hold on an order by President Joe Biden for companies with 100 workers or more to require COVID-19 vaccines, rejecting a challenge by his administration.
The 5th U.S. panel was composed of three members. The Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed the ruling despite the Biden administration’s assertion that stopping the implementation of the vaccine mandate could result in dozens or even hundreds of deaths.
The opinion stated that “The mandate is staggeringly broad.”
“The mandate is a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces (and workers),” Circuit Court Judge Kurt Engelhardt wrote for the panel.
Vaccine mandates in the United States are highly controversial. While supporters argue that they are necessary to end the coronavirus pandemic of nearly two years, opponents claim they violate the U.S. Constitution.
The Fifth Circuit judges seemed to be in agreement with the opponents.
“The public interest is also served by maintaining our constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals to make intensely personal decisions according to their own convictions – even, or perhaps particularly when those decisions frustrate government officials,” Engelhardt wrote.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), issued the rule. It requires that all employees of businesses with less than 100 employees be vaccinated.
The White House did not immediately comment on the decision, which was hailed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton as a victory. In legal challenges to the order, Texas joined the other U.S. States, private employers, and religious organizations.
“Citing Texas’s ‘compelling argument[s]’ the 5th Circuit has stayed OSHA’s unconstitutional and illegal private-business vaccine mandate”, Paxton said on Twitter.
Biden imposed the requirement in September, telling Americans that “our patience is wearing thin” with those refusing to get inoculated.