More than half of US states on Friday filed or joined lawsuits opposing President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for employees of large companies.
Twenty-six states cosigned four petitions, amounting to perhaps the most sweeping legal challenge to pandemic-era safety requirements since Biden took office. Three Democrat-led states are among the 26.
The lawsuits, filed in four federal appeals courts, take aim at Biden’s requirement that all companies with more than 100 employees mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their staff, or implement weekly testing.
“This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise,” said a lawsuit filed by Missouri and 10 other states in the US Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit.
The states said in the filing that Biden’s mandate “will cause injuries and hardship to working families, inflict economic disruption and staffing shortages on the states and private employers, and impose even greater strains on struggling labor markets and supply chains.”
The lawsuits argue that the federal government doesn’t have the constitutional authority to put a vaccine mandate in place. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also lacks the statutory authority to enforce it, they said. The issue should be left to states to decide, they argue.
“States have been leading the fight against COVID-19 from the start of the pandemic,” said Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, one of several Democratic leaders to join the suits. “It is too late to impose a federal standard now that we have already developed systems and strategies that are tailored for our specific needs.”
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