Biden's Vaccine Mandates for CMS Health Care Workers and Federal Contractors Blocked by Federal Judges

In multiple major rulings, two of the Biden Administration's vaccine mandates were blocked by federal courts today. First, the Eastern District of Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction suspending the enforcement of a vaccine mandate for federal contractors in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. The Lexington Hearald Leader reports:

A federal judge in Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction effectively blocking implementation of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal government contractors and subcontractors on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, who serves the Eastern District of Kentucky, issued the opinion and order Tuesday afternoon. It came in response to a challenge from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who joined many other state attorneys general in challenging the mandate. . .

The mandate -- which, along with one for employers of over 100 people and certain healthcare workers, has been challenged in several states -- is set to take effect on Jan. 4.

Second, a nationwide injunction has been issued by a Louisiana judge blocking the enforcement of the Administration's vaccine mandate for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) healthcare workers. The mandate was challenged by a coalition of states led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. Fox News reports

A federal judge in Louisiana issued a nationwide preliminary injunction Tuesday against President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers.

Judge Terry A. Doughty in the U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana ruled in favor of a request from Republican Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to block an emergency regulation issued Nov. 4 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that required vaccines for nearly every full-time employee, part-time employee, volunteer, and contractor working at a wide range of healthcare facilities receiving Medicaid or Medicaid funding.

Louisiana was joined in the lawsuit by attorneys general in 13 other states

Doughty argued in his ruling that the Biden administration does not have the constitutional authority to go around Congress by issuing such a mandate.

Another federal judge had already issued a temporary injunction on Monday blocking the implementation of the same vaccine mandate in 10 states (Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming). CNN reported

A federal judge in Missouri issued an order Monday partially blocking the Biden administration from implementing a vaccine mandate for certain health care workers.

The judge's order, which covers the 10 states that brought the case, played down the effectiveness of the vaccines and said that the "public would suffer little, if any, harm from maintaining the 'status quo' through the litigation of this case."

The mandate came out of the US Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It covers certain health care staff at providers that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, and set a December 6 deadline for those workers to have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

As National Review noted, this week's rulings follow a Fifth Circuit decision earlier this month that froze the vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees:

Schelp’s decision comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more workers. That mandate would have directed workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine or submit a weekly coronavirus test, while companies that didn’t comply would face a penalty of $13,653 per violation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which the president tasked with developing the mandate, suspended enforcement of the mandate in November as a result of the Fifth Circuit court’s ruling. 

The Fifth Circuit concluded in its ruling that the law that created OSHA “was not…intended to authorize a workplace safety administration in the deep recesses of the federal bureaucracy to make sweeping pronouncements on matters of public health affecting every member of society.”

Republican attorneys general continue to lead the way in fighting the Biden Administration's overreach.