COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — A federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more workers.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, issued an emergency stay that temporarily prevents the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration from implementing the mandate requiring workers to be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or face mask requirements and weekly testing.
“Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby STAYED pending further action by this court,” the ruling said.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson applauded the ruling in a statement.
“The Court has seen the merit of our filing and others,” Wilson said. “The Constitution will prevail. The President is not above the law. The courts may be all that is left between us and abuse of power.”
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said the action stops Democrat President Joe Biden “from moving forward with his unlawful overreach.”
“The president will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by the constitution,” said a statement from Landry, a Republican.
At least 27 states filed lawsuits challenging the rule in several circuits, some of which were made more conservative by the judicial appointments of former Republican President Donald Trump.
The Biden administration has been encouraging widespread vaccinations as the quickest way to end the pandemic that has claimed more than 750,000 lives in the United States.
The administration says it is confident that the requirement, which includes penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation, will withstand legal challenges in part because its safety rules pre-empt state laws.
The 5th Circuit said it was delaying the federal vaccine requirement because of potential “grave statutory and constitutional issues” raised by the plaintiffs. The government must provide an expedited reply to the motion for a permanent injunction on Monday, followed by the petitioners’ reply on Tuesday.