A US court has temporarily halted President Joe Biden’s plans to make a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for tens of millions of American workers.
The law proposed by the US government, which will take effect in early January, would require employees of private companies with more than 100 employees to be fully vaccinated or tested for the disease weekly.
But the court found that there were “serious constitutional and legal problems” with the rule. The Biden government has until Monday (8/11) to appeal.
Five Republican-led states — Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah — as well as private companies and religious groups have sued the law.
They accused the president of overstepping his authority.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said the court’s decision was a “major victory for the freedom of job creators and their employees.”
Battle in the courts
If the suspension is maintained, it will be a blow to the Biden administration’s drastic measures to expand vaccination, which were announced in September.
Biden says the requirement, which will reach more than two-thirds of the nation’s workers, will set a national standard for workplace safety.
The president decided that employees of large companies should be fully vaccinated by January 4, and said vaccination was “the best way out of this pandemic.”
Many companies in the United States are already requiring their employees to be vaccinated. There are also requirements for military and federal contractors.
But critics of the measure say it is unconstitutional for a president to impose such a blanket rule across the country.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has opposed the government’s rules on vaccines and masks, praised the court’s ruling against “unconstitutional abuse of power” by Biden.
But US Department of Labor attorney Sima Nanda said she was “confident of Biden’s legal authority” to pass the law.
“We are fully prepared to defend this measure in court,” she said.
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