President Joe Biden’s administration was directed on Monday to respond to a flurry of new challenges to its private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a Trump nominee, asked administration officials to file a response to applications from faith groups, companies and attorney generals from more than half of the country’s states by 4 p.m. on December 30.
It was only a few days before the deadline of the mandate.
“This case is finally where it is: Supreme Court. OSHA threatens to start penalizing employers like our customers starting January 10, and we are grateful that the court has ordered a briefing schedule Which would allow the resolution of our petition before that deadline,” Danielle Suhr, Liberty Justice Center’s managing counsel, told The Epoch Times in an email.
“We are very pleased with Justice Kavanaugh’s prompt response and we are confident that the court will act quickly to ensure legal predicament before the deadline,” said John Bursch, attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom.
Kavanaugh is dealing with the case because the appeals court that issued the decision that prompted the challenges is within his jurisdiction.
The mandate in question was promulgated by Labor’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If allowed to take effect next month, it would force every business with 100 or more employees to obtain proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination from every worker on at least a weekly basis. Companies that do not comply will face mounting fines.
In November the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit filed a preliminary injunction against the mandate, questioning its constitutionality. But the case was referred by lottery to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which dissolved the stay on Friday.
OSHA said it was “satisfied” by the ruling and would begin implementing the mandate on January 10, 2022. The official deadline, however, is January 4.
The rule could be renewed by the Supreme Court, which quickly received appeals from the Word of God Fellowship, The Heritage Foundation, Ohio’s Attorney General, BST Holdings and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In the absence of a fresh stay, the parties would suffer irreparable damage, he argued in the filing.
Institutions fear losing workers who don’t want to be vaccinated and don’t want to get tested regularly, possibly at their own cost.
“South Dakota and Florida public schools are not subject to the mandate and may draw teachers away from religious private schools,” lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom wrote in a document.
Challengers say the administration is in violation of state authority set forth in the US Constitution and goes beyond the powers Congress has given OSHA to regulate businesses.
OSHA says the mandate will “protect workers’ health by reducing the spread of the virus unprecedented in the workplace.”
The agency was referring to the CCP (Communist Party of China) virus, which causes COVID-19.