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Federal Court Blocks Biden’s COVID Vaccine Mandate for US gov’t workers

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Federal Court Blocks Biden's COVID Vaccine Mandate for US gov't workers

(CTN News) – An appeals court has stayed President Joe Biden’s mandate that all government employees acquire the COVID vaccine.

In a judgment released on Thursday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans dismissed claims that Vice President Joe Biden has the same authority as the CEO of a private firm to mandate vaccinations for their employees.

A panel of three judges from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled to uphold the vaccination requirement, but the full appeals court, consisting of 16 full-time justices at the time the issue was argued, overruled that decision. The majority ruling was written by Judge Andrew Oldham, who was nominated to the bench by President Trump.

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Vaccination policies for federal employees will remain unchanged due to the verdict. A preliminary injunction issued by a federal judge in January 2022 prohibiting the mandate is upheld. The management at the time claimed that 98% of eligible workers had received their vaccinations.

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When the issue returns to that court for more arguments, Oldham said, “both sides will have to grapple with the White House’s announcement that the COVID emergency will finally end on May 11, 2023.” This is because the emergency declaration for the disease will be lifted on that date.

In a statement released on Friday, the White House defended the decision by noting that “vaccination remains one of the most important tools to protect people from serious illness and hospitalizations” in the face of COVID.

Critics of the policy claimed it violated the rights of government employees and was illegal under both the Constitution and federal law.

In September of 2021, Biden issued an executive order mandating vaccinations for all workers of executive branch agencies, with certain exceptions made for those with medical or religious exemptions. In November of the following year, the mandate became effective.

After Trump nominated U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown to the Southern District of Texas, Brown issued an injunction blocking the mandate nationwide in January. The 5th Circuit then took up the matter.

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A three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to temporarily halt the statute.

However, another panel agreed with Biden after hearing his reasons. Most of the court consisted of Clinton appointees Carl Stewart and James Dennis.

President George H.W. Bush’s appointee to the bench, Judge Rhesa Barksdale, wrote a dissenting opinion in which she argued that the Civil Service Reform Act did not cover the remedy sought by the challengers.

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Most of the court agreed, stating that the federal government does not have the authority to preempt state courts from hearing matters involving “private, irreversible medical decisions made in consultation with private medical professionals outside of the federal workplace.”

Most of the court decided to reverse its previous decision and rehear the case. On September 13, all 17 judges heard arguments, including senior judge Barksdale, whose workload is less intense than the active judges.

Obama’s appointee to the bench, Judge Stephen Higginson, penned most of the opposing opinion. Higginson states, “our court correctly concludes that we do have jurisdiction,” but for incorrect reasons.

However, the court still refuses to explain why the President lacks the authority to regulate workplace safety for his staff, even though a dozen federal courts have already ruled against it and a government application to stay the district court’s injunction has been ongoing more than a year.

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Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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