A federal judge in Georgia issued a nationwide injunction Tuesday blocking the Biden administration from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees of federal contractors.
Judge R. Stan Baker of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia Augusta Division, a Donald Trump appointee, concluded federal law did not provide the Biden administration with clear authority to impose a vaccine mandate for contractors.
In his decision regarding a lawsuit brought by the states of Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia, Baker wrote, “In this case, Plaintiffs will likely succeed in their claim that the President exceeded the authorization given to him by Congress through the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act when issuing Executive Order 14042.”
“While the Procurement Act explicitly and unquestionably bestows some authority upon the President, the Court is unconvinced, at this stage of the litigation, that it authorized him to direct the type of actions by agencies that are contained in EO 14042,” the judge said, adding:
The Court has already described in detail the extreme economic burden the Plaintiffs have suffered and will continue to suffer in endeavoring to comply with EO 14042 (not to mention the impediment it will likely pose to some Plaintiffs’ … ability to continue to perform federal contract work). Additionally, the direct impact of EO 14042 goes beyond the administration and management of procurement and contracting; in its practical application (requiring a significant number of individuals across the country working in a broad range of positions and in numerous different industries to be vaccinated or face a serious risk of losing their job), it operates as a regulation of public health. It will also have a major impact on the economy at large, as it limits contractors’ and members of the workforce’s ability to perform work on federal contracts. Accordingly, it appears to have vast economic and political significance.
“The Court finds that Plaintiffs have a likelihood of proving that Congress, through the language it used, did not clearly authorize the President to issue the kind of mandate contained in EO 14042,” Baker concluded, “as EO 14042 goes far beyond addressing administrative and management issues in order to promote efficiency and economy in procurement and contracting, and instead, in application, works as a regulation of public health, which is not clearly authorized under the Procurement Act.”
The contractor mandate was scheduled to go into effect in January.
Columnist Phil Kerpen provided the latest status of the Biden administration’s five vaccine mandates:
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