Nov. 12 (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld its decision to grant an order from President Joe Biden for companies with 100 employees or more to demand COVID-19 vaccines, rejecting a challenge of his government.
A three-member panel of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld its ruling, despite the Biden administration’s stance that halting implementation of the vaccine mandate could lead to tens or even hundreds of deaths. read more
“The mandate is staggeringly too broad,” the advisory said.
“The mandate is a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that barely makes an effort to account for differences in workplaces (and employees),” Circuit Court Judge Kurt Engelhardt wrote for the panel.
Vaccination mandates are highly controversial in the United States. Proponents say they are a must to end the nearly two-year coronavirus pandemic, while opponents argue they are violating the US Constitution and curbing individual freedom.
The judges of the Fifth Circuit seemed to agree with the opponents.
“The public interest is also served by upholding our constitutional structure and preserving the freedom of individuals to make intensely personal decisions according to their own beliefs — even, or perhaps especially, when those decisions frustrate government officials,” Engelhardt wrote. .
The rule, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requires businesses with at least 100 employees to require staff to be vaccinated or undergo weekly tests and face masks.
White House officials had no immediate comment on the ruling, which was hailed as a victory by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Texas joined other US states, as well as private employers and religious organizations, in legal challenges against the order.
Citing Texas’s ‘compelling argument'[s]”The 5th Circuit has violated OSHA’s unconstitutional and illegal vaccine mandate for private companies,” Paxton said on Twitter.
Biden made the demand in September, telling Americans that “we are running out of patience” with those who refuse to be vaccinated.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh and Jonathan Stempel, edited by Grant McCool
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