More than two dozen Republican-led states including New Hampshire filed a lawsuit on Friday to challenge President Biden’s vaccine requirements for private companies, triggering a high-stakes legal showdown.
The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued Thursday’s requirements to employers with more than 100 employees. The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Thursday required that all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. They also need to have their workers tested every week by January 4, or before the mask is required. These lawsuits require the court to decide whether the government’s efforts to contain the pandemic represent the seizure of federal power and usurp the state’s power to formulate health policies.
At least 26 other states have filed lawsuits against the rule. Massachusetts is not one.
Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmidt said in a court document filed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in St. Louis on behalf of 11 states: “This authorization is unconstitutional, illegal and unwise.”
The Biden administration has long advocated widespread vaccination as the best way to avoid the pandemic. According to a spokesperson for the White House, Thursday’s authorization was given in order to stop the spread of the disease that has already claimed 750,000 lives in the United States.
The government stated it believed its requirements, which included a fine of almost $14,000 per violation, would withstand legal challenges in part due to its safety rules taking precedence over state laws.
U.S. Department of Labor Attorney Simmananda stated in a Friday statement that OSHA is authorized by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act to quickly act if workers are in grave danger. The agency argues that its interim rules also take precedence over any state or local ban on employers’ ability to request vaccinations.
Nanda stated, “We are fully ready to defend this standard at court.”
Lawrence Gostin (a Georgetown University Professor and Director of the World Health Organization’s Health Law Center) stated that the half century-old law that created Occupational Safety and Health Agency gave it authority to create minimum workplace safety measures.
He stated, “I believe Biden has a solid legal foundation.”
Critics targeted certain aspects of the requirement, including that it was passed as an emergency measure rather than after the agency’s regular rulemaking process.
The Missouri lawsuit also included the participation of Arizona, Arizona and Wyoming’s Republican attorneys general. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller was the only Democratic lawyer general to join the lawsuit.
Other state leagues also filed lawsuits in U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, Friday: Louisiana. Mississippi. South Carolina. Texas. Utah. And those in the Sixth Circuit, Cincinnati Kansas. Kentucky. Idaho. Oklahoma. Tennessee.