A federal judge in Texas on Friday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its vaccine mandate for federal workers. The judge’s ruling is another blow to the White House’s COVID-19 strategy, which has suffered massive setbacks in recent weeks.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown cited the Supreme Court’s adverse decision on Biden’s vaccine mandate for large employers.
“The Supreme Court has expressly held that a COVID-19 vaccine mandate is not an employment regulation,” Judge Brown wrote. “And that means the President was without statutory authority to issue the federal-worker mandate.”
The judge provided his reasoning for striking down the Biden vaccine mandate for federal employees.
“Assuming that getting vaccinated is indeed ‘conduct,’ the court agrees with the plaintiffs that under § 7301, it must be workplace conduct before the President may regulate it. Any broader reading would allow the President to prescribe, or proscribe, certain private behaviors by civilian federal workers outside the context of their employment,” the judge said. “Neither the plain language of §7301 nor any traditional notion of personal liberty would tolerate such a sweeping grant of power.”
“So, is submitting to a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly when required as a condition of one’s employment, workplace conduct?” the judge continued. “The answer to this question became a lot clearer after the Supreme Court’s ruling in NFIB earlier this month. There, the Court held that the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 29 U.S.C. § 15 et seq., allows OSHA ‘to set workplace safety standards,’ but ‘not broad public health measures.'”
“Similarly, as noted above, § 7301 authorizes the President to regulate the workplace conduct of executive-branch employees, but not their conduct in general,” he added. “And in NFIB, the Supreme Court specifically held that COVID-19 is not a workplace risk, but rather a ‘universal risk’ that is ‘no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases.’
“Accordingly, the Court held, requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is outside OSHA’s ambit,” the judge stated. “Applying that same logic to the President’s authority under § 7301 means he cannot require civilian federal employees to submit to the vaccine as a condition of employment.”
So, in summary, biomedical totalitarianism is not legal or constitutional. Who would have thought it. Biden reacted to the news with his typical bluster.
“I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law,” Biden said in a statement following the high court’s decision. He also had the temerity to call the vaccine-or-test rule “a very modest burden.”
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