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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Judge blocks Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors in 10 states

A federal judge in Missouri has issued a temporary moratorium on the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors in 10 US states while litigation continues.

“We have again defeated the Biden administration in court,” declared Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt. on twitter Monday late. “This afternoon, we received a preliminary injunction against a vaccine mandate on federal contractors, preventing the enforcement of that mandate in Missouri and other states in our coalition.”

The preliminary injunction issued by US Magistrate Judge David Nose applies to Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Schmidt and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, both Republicans, co-led 10 states on October 29 that sued the Biden administration, calling it “unconstitutional, illegal and unwise.”

“It would not harm the federal government to maintain the status quo while the courts decide issues of the authority of the president and the implications of federalism. The Court concluded that, on balance, consideration of harm and the public interest favors a preliminary injunction. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Nose reads Monday’s preliminary injunction order.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mandate currently blocked nationwide

A nationwide preliminary injunction is already blocking the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors, when a federal court in Georgia on December 7 granted an injunction in a separate seven-state trial led by Georgia.

The court decided to block the mandate for the entire United States because a National Trade Organization-Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) was allowed by the court to intervene in the case as a plaintiff. The states of Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia were other plaintiffs.

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,[G]even width of abc [nationwide] Membership … limiting the relief only before the Court would prove cumbersome and would only create more confusion. Thus, on the unique facts before that, the Court finds it necessary, in order to issue an injunction with nationwide applicability, before the parties can actually be granted injunctive relief,” U.S. District Judge Stan Baker ordered ( pdf).

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees and contractors was otherwise due to take effect on January 4, 2022. Initially the deadline was set as December 8.

Under the vaccine mandate issued through an executive order by President Joe Biden on September 9, routine COVID-19 testing would not be an option, but a religious or medical exemption from vaccination could be granted.

Federal contractors who do not comply can lose government contracts.

Another separate ruling on November 30 blocked Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federal contractors in three states—Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

to follow

Mimi Nguyen Lai is an assignment editor and world news reporter based in Australia. She has a background in optometry. Contact him at [email protected]

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