A US federal appeals court has issued a stay on President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates for employers, freezing the requirement over constitutional concerns.
Biden’s mandate says companies with 100 or more employees must require their workers to either get the Covid-19 vaccine or be tested weekly. Numerous Republican states and companies, such as conservative outlet Daily Wire, had already presented legal challenges to Biden’s controversial mandate before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stepped in.
The court put a hold on the mandate on Saturday before its January deadline over “grave statutory and constitutional concerns.”
The petition to the appeals court came from businesses and multiple states including Texas.
“Emergency hearings will take place soon,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted about the decision after his state’s attorney general celebrated the temporary victory over the federal mandate. “We will have our day in court to strike down Biden’s unconstitutional abuse of authority.”
The court’s stay on Biden’s vaccine mandate is not an actual end to the requirement, and critics will have a process to go through before they can celebrate any actual victory. The decision is a temporary stay until “further action” is taken by the court after hearing arguments in emergency hearings that will be part of an “expedited judicial review.”
According to the court’s decision, the government has until Monday to respond to the “permanent injunction” being requested by the petitioners.
Biden first announced his controversial mandate in September, and the specifics of the plan were released earlier this week amid backlash. The requirement, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), concerns tens of millions of Americans, promises thousands in fines for companies that violate the mandate, which also requires companies to pay for weekly testing (if an employee chooses this option), and provides paid time off for employees to actually get vaccinated.
Conservative lawmakers and pundits have used the latest court decision to promise further action against the mandate, though others have accused Texas and other states of putting “selfishness” above the “common good.”