Attorneys general for 11 states filed a lawsuit Friday to prevent the Biden administration from requiring large companies to mandate coronavirus vaccinations, in the latest sign of growing resistance to the federal government’s largest efforts to get private businesses to fight the virus.
“This mandate is unconstitutional, illegal and unreasonable,” the court file says. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt led the filing team, which was joined by private and nonprofit groups.
The Biden administration on Thursday set a January 4 deadline for large companies to mandate coronavirus vaccinations or begin weekly testing of their employees.
The new rule, applicable to companies with 100 or more employees, is expected to reach 84 million workers, about 31 million of whom are unvaccinated.
Also on Friday, Alabama-based Gov. Kay Ivey signed employment protection legislation for workers who say they have not received the Covid-19 vaccine for religious or health-related reasons. In addition, she signed a law requiring parental consent to vaccinate minors against the coronavirus.
The lawsuit was filed Friday in the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit of Missouri, joined by Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Iowa Attorney General’s Office Tom Miller, a Democrat, also joined the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed the day after attorneys general of Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio filed a lawsuit to ban the vaccine for federal contractors.
The demand for big private business is the most far-reaching and politically controversial measure in the government’s efforts to combat the pandemic. Attorneys general in at least 24 states have threatened to sue. Republican governors and some industry trade groups have opposed the demand, and the 20 percent of US adults who remain unvaccinated may also oppose the demand.