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11 states sue Biden, OSHA over vaccine mandate for 84 million private workers

Spc. James Alston holds a dosage of COVID-19 vaccine at the Harrison County Health Department in Gulfport, Miss., Jan. 5, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by A. Danielle Thomas)
November 05, 2021

On Friday, 11 states filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s OSHA-enforced vaccine mandate that requires businesses with more than 100 employees to force their staff to take the COVID-19 vaccine, or wear masks and be tested weekly. The rule affects more than 84 million private workers.

The lawsuit was filed by Missouri, Arizona, Nebraska, Montana, Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Wyoming.

The lawsuit argues that for more than 100 years, the United States Supreme Court “has recognized that policies on compulsory vaccination lie within the police powers of the States, and that ‘[t]hey are matters that do not ordinarily concern the national government,’” according to Jacobson v. Massachusetts.

“Until quite recently, the Biden Administration agreed. The White House stated on July 23 of this year that mandating vaccines is ‘not the role of the federal government.’ But on September 9, 2021, that position underwent a dramatic reversal,” the complaint states. “The President announced several sweeping vaccine mandates, including a vaccine mandate to be issued by OSHA that would apply to all employers who employ more than 100 employees.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) later published the “emergency” mandate, the lawsuit continued, “crafting an elaborate post hoc justification for a policy that the President had already ordered it to impose.”

The lawsuit highlighted that by OSHA’s own admission, two-thirds of America’s private-sector workforce would be impacted by the mandate.

“This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise. The federal government lacks constitutional authority under its enumerated powers to issue this mandate, and its attempt to do so unconstitutionally infringes on the States’ powers expressly reserved by the Tenth Amendment. OSHA also lacks statutory authority to issue the ETS, which it shoe-horned into statutes that govern workplace safety, and which were never intended to federalize public health policy.”

Under the OSHA rule, large companies must require employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine by January 4, or pay for their employees to be tested weekly. Unvaccinated employees must also wear face masks, and employers are required to provide employees with paid leave in order to get the vaccine and recover from side effects.

Employers could face $14,000 fines for every violation of the new rule.

“The federal government should not be forcing private employers to require their employees to get vaccinated or foot the cost to test those employees weekly,” said Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, according to the Washington Times. “Local business owners have told me that the vaccine mandate would decimate their businesses, including some that have been around for decades, and they’re certainly not alone – there are thousands of businesses in Missouri alone that could be negatively affected by this mandate.”