COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Over the weekend, a federal appeals court issued a temporary block on President Joe Biden’s vaccine or weekly testing mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday granted an emergency stay on the enforcement of the federal mandate. South Carolina joined Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Utah and businesses in a lawsuit filed against the Biden Administration over the mandate.
Gov. Henry McMaster Monday afternoon called the mandate ‘unconstitutional,’ saying, “It’s a grave error. It’s not within the purview of the federal government to be doing that.”
If allowed to go into effect, the mandate would require workers at businesses with more than 100 employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing. Companies would have to comply with the mandate by Jan. 4 or face fines of up to $14,000 per violation.
“They’re doing more harm than good,” McMaster said of the Biden administration. “They ought to read the Constitution. It’s easy to read. If you read it, there’s no doubt they are off the rails.”
Over the weekend, the Biden administration said it is prepared to defend the mandate in court. White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Labor Department has a responsibility to protect workers from grave danger.
“This is about keeping people safe in the workplace,” she said. “This past year more than 750,000 people have died from COVID. There’s approximately 1,300 people a day who continue to die from COVID. If that’s not a grave danger, I don’t know what is.”
The Biden administration was expected to respond to the emergency stay on Monday.