Florida filed the first state lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate Oct. 28. The next day, Texas filed its own suit against the mandate. Then more than a dozen states followed with similar legal action. In all, 19 states are asking the Judicial Branch to nullify the president’s executive order, which has been derisively referred to as “jabs for jobs.”
One lawsuit, filed in a Missouri federal district court, involves Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Another, filed in a federal district court in Georgia, involves Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.
“We have a responsibility to stand up to those requiring vaccine mandates, or new mandates will just keep coming,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican. “We’ve gone from 15 days to slow the spread, to three jabs to keep your job. Are you kidding me?”
President Joe Biden issued an executive order that requires almost all federal employees and contractors to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or they will get fired or suspended. The order, effective on Dec. 8, does not allow testing as an option for people who do not want to get vaccinated.
Religious and medical exemptions from vaccination may be granted, according to the executive order, but while those requests are pending, a Federal District Court Judge issued a restraining order on Thursday to prevent federal employees from being fired for not yet complying with the vaccine mandate. In that lawsuit, filed last month, Biden and members of his administration were sued by 20 plaintiffs over his Sept. 9 executive order requiring vaccines for all federal employees and contractors.
All the state lawsuits argue that the mandate violates federal procurement law and is an overreach of federal power. The states believe Biden’s vaccine mandate violates the principle of state sovereignty enumerated by the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it uses federal spending to coerce the states. Finally, they point out the federal government did not properly allow for 60 days of public comment.
Ironically, the failure to follow proper procedure may be the weakest point and yet the one allows the Supreme Court to invalidate Biden’s executive order without ruling on the merits of a federal vaccine mandate. That would mirror the court’s answer to Democrat challenges to former President Donald Trump’s executive order ending DACA. The court ruled Trump’s order not lawful because the administration did not properly explain why they were overturning former President Barack Obama’s executive order before issuing the order.
Texans are as fired up about vaccine mandates as residents of the Sunshine State.
“The Biden Administration has repeatedly expressed its disdain for Americans who choose not to get a vaccine, and it has committed repeated and abusive federal overreach to force upon Americans something they do not want,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement Friday. “The federal government does not have the ability to strip individuals of their choice to get a vaccine or not. If the President thinks his patience is wearing thin, he is clearly underestimating the lack of patience from Texans whose rights he is infringing.”
The Texas legal response to Biden’s vaccine mandate supplements an executive order issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) that forbids any entity from mandating vaccines for Texans.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson are leading a ten-state coalition in a lawsuit that calls President Biden’s mandate “unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise.”
“If the federal government attempts to unconstitutionally exert its will and force federal contractors to mandate vaccinations, the workforce and businesses could be decimated, further exacerbating the supply chain and workforce crises,” Schmitt, a Republican, said. “The federal government should not be mandating vaccinations, and that’s why we filed suit today—to halt this illegal, unconstitutional action.”
Georgia is leading the other multi-party suit opposing the “jabs for jobs” order.
“In addition to being an unlawful and unconstitutional overreach, this vaccine mandate on federal contractors will only further divide Americans and hamstring our economy,” Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) said in a statement released Friday. “Polling shows 70 percent of unvaccinated Americans say they would quit their jobs if their company required the Covid-19 vaccine. From an employer’s perspective, 9 in 10 fear significant reductions in their workforce if they had to implement vaccine mandates.”
The suit argues that the only way the mandate could be legal is if Congress passed a law requiring vaccinations.
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