Justice Department Asks to Reinstate Vaccine Mandate

From NACS: All legal challenges to the OSHA rule are now centralized with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The U.S. Justice Department filed an emergency court motion with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to reinstate the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) requirement that private-sector businesses with 100 or more employees have all their workers vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19.

Shortly following OSHA’s ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay temporarily halting enforcement of the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers, citing “grave statutory and constitutional issues.”

Fifth Circuit Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt wrote that the mandate, which applies to two out of three private-sector employees in the U.S., “imposes a financial burden” on the litigants “by deputizing their participation in OSHA’s regulatory scheme, exposes them to severe financial risk if they refuse or fail to comply, and threatens to decimate their workforces (and business prospects) by forcing unwilling employees to take their shots, take their tests or hit the road.”

At least 26 states and multiple business groups and labor unions are challenging the emergency temporary standard (ETS) in nearly every federal appellate court in the nation. NACS joined with nearly a dozen state and national trade associations in suing OSHA.

Under a federal appeals court lottery system, all of the cases are expected to be combined into a single case. A federal judicial panel on multidistrict litigation last week consolidated all the cases in the 6th Circuit. The 5th Circuit lost jurisdiction of its cases when they were moved to Cincinnati, and the 6th Circuit now has the authority to dissolve the 5th Circuit’s stay, which is what the Justice Department is requesting. If the Cincinnati-based court denies the Justice Department request, the Biden Administration would have the option to seek emergency intervention from the Supreme Court.