Federal Appeals Court Blocks COVID-19 Vaccine-or-Test Mandate for Employers

A federal appeals court Saturday temporarily halted the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers.

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay of the requirement by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration that those workers be vaccinated by January 4, 2022, or submit to masking and weekly testing requirements.

Louisiana Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry said the action stops President Biden “from moving forward with his unlawful overreach.” Such circuit decisions normally apply to states within a district — in this case, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas — but Landry said the language employed by the judges gives the decision a national scope.

The 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, said it was delaying the federal vaccine requirement because of potential “grave statutory and constitutional issues” raised by the plaintiffs. The government must provide an expedited reply to the motion for a permanent injunction on Monday; petitioners must reply Tuesday.