On Thursday, a federal appeals court blocked President Joe Biden’s order mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for federal employees.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that Biden, as the nation’s chief executive, does not possess the same authority as a private corporation’s CEO to require employees to be vaccinated.
BREAKING: In reversal for Biden, US appeals court rules against COVID-19 vaccination requirement for federal employees – AP
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 23, 2023
The full appeals court, consisting of 16 full-time judges at the time the case was argued, reversed an earlier ruling by a three-judge 5th Circuit panel that had upheld the vaccination requirement. Judge Andrew Oldham, a Donald Trump nominee, wrote the opinion for the 10-member majority.
This ruling maintains the status quo regarding federal employee vaccinations. It upholds a preliminary injunction that blocked the mandate, which was issued by a federal judge in January 2022. At that time, the administration reported that nearly 98% of covered employees had already been vaccinated.
— Your sources source. (@SkolBros) March 23, 2023
Judge Oldham noted that with the preliminary injunction arguments concluded, the case would return to the lower court for further arguments. He added that “both sides will have to grapple with the White House’s announcement that the COVID emergency will finally end on May 11, 2023.”
Opponents of the policy argued that it was an unconstitutional encroachment on federal workers’ lives and lacked federal statutory authorization. In response to the ongoing pandemic, Biden issued an executive order in September 2021 requiring vaccinations for all executive branch agency employees, with exemptions for medical and religious reasons. The requirement took effect in November.
Those lawsuits are coming.
— Lord Lance Faul (@lancefaul) March 24, 2023
However, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown, a Trump appointee serving on the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, issued a nationwide injunction against the requirement in January. This decision led to the case being taken up by the 5th Circuit.
Initially, one panel of three 5th Circuit judges refused to immediately block the law. A different panel, after hearing arguments, upheld Biden’s position.
Judges Carl Stewart and James Dennis, both Bill Clinton nominees, were in the majority. Judge Rhesa Barksdale, a George H.W. Bush nominee, dissented, arguing that the relief sought by challengers did not fall under the Civil Service Reform Act, as cited by the administration.
Yep because they threatened our jobs and livelihoods… can’t wait for the lawsuits.
— ChicagoFoodie™? (@SkolFoodie) March 24, 2023
The broader court majority concurred, asserting that federal law does not exclude court jurisdiction over cases involving “private, irreversible medical decisions made in consultation with private medical professionals outside the federal workplace.”
A majority of the full court voted to vacate the initial ruling and reconsider the case. The 16 active judges heard the case on September 13, joined by Barksdale, who now serves as a senior judge with reduced duties compared to the full-time members of the court.
JUST IN: In reversal for Biden, US appeals court rules against COVID-19 vaccination requirement for federal employees – AP
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) March 23, 2023
Judge Stephen Higginson, a Barack Obama nominee, penned the main dissenting opinion. He argued that while the court correctly concluded that it had jurisdiction, it failed to explain why the President does not possess the power to regulate workplace safety for his employees, as opposed to the dozen federal courts that have previously ruled on the matter.
Higginson criticized the court for leaving a government motion to stay the district court’s injunction pending for over a year without resolution.
People on Twitter replied with this
Too bad the shot can’t be taken back
— Cheese Crackers ?? (@Why45huh) March 24, 2023
A win for democracy and a win for Chris Christie.
— Chris Christie Fan (@Christie4Pres) March 23, 2023
They tried scaring federal civilian employees into the jab of death. I was only 1 of the 2 that refused in my shop. I'm still there even after my rebellion. Glad I didn't take it as one now has blood cancer, one almost died of clots and the last guy is in heart failure now.
— MAD MAX 2030 ?????? (@glamb77) March 24, 2023
Pfizer and Moderna wont be happy about this
— Troll-meister (@Seecoflyn) March 24, 2023
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!