December 17, 2021

Federal Judges Try to Block Vaccine Mandates

Earlier this summer, President Biden issued a vaccine mandate for all federal employees, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) healthcare providers, and employers with 100 or more employees. The mandate is scheduled to go into full effect by January 4th, with all applicable individuals requiring full vaccination by that date.

However, in the last month certain federal courts have begun to issue rulings to block the mandate. While it is uncertain for how long these rulings will be effective or to what degree they will reduce the intended impact of the vaccine mandate, with fewer employees required to vaccinate themselves, the risk of COVID-19 may continue to resurge.

U.S. District Court judge Matthew T. Schelp ruled in State of Missouri et al, v. Joseph R. Biden that Congress did not grant CMS the authority to mandate the vaccine, declaring that healthcare providers would not need to adhere to the mandate.

This initially ruling only applied to 10 states, however it was soon followed by another ruling from a federal court. In the case of State of Louisiana, et al. v Xavier Becerra, et al. U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty issued a ruling that halted the vaccine mandate altogether across CMS workers. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry led a coalition of 14 states against the mandate in this lawsuit.

In another case in Kentucky, U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ruled that the vaccine mandate could not be applied to federal contractors. Soon after that in Georgia, another U.S. District Judge, Stan Baker, issued a similar ruling.

Many believe more of these rulings will come, but previous attempts to block the vaccine mandates have been appealed. Initially, federal judges objected to the requirement that employers with 100 or more employees should fall under the vaccine mandate, but the 5th U.S. Circuit’s Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled in favor of that portion of the mandate, eliminating this obstacle to the mandate. While arguments will vary, it is possible that some of these challenges could continue to be appealed and the mandate could go through as planned.

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