A federal judge in Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday against Democrat President Joe Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in three states.
The Lexington Herald Leader reported:
U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, who serves the Eastern District of Kentucky, issued the opinion and order Tuesday afternoon. It came in response to a challenge from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who joined many other state attorneys general in challenging the mandate.
“This is not a case about whether vaccines are effective. They are,” Van Tatenhove wrote. “Nor is this a case about whether the government, at some level, and in some circumstances, can require citizens to obtain vaccines. It can.”
He said the case was about whether Biden could impose vaccines on the employees of government contractors.
“The question presented here is narrow,” he said. “Can the president use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors? In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no.”
“Once again, the Court is asked to wrestle with important constitutional values implicated in the midst of a pandemic that lingers,” he said. “These questions will not be finally resolved in the shadows. Instead, the consideration will continue with the benefit of full briefing and appellate review. But right now, the enforcement of the contract provisions in this case must be paused.”
The order blocks the Biden administration from enforcing the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Bloomberg Law added:
Biden’s mandate, which applies to roughly a quarter of the U.S. workforce and affects companies such as Lockheed Martin Corp., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.‘s Google, and General Motors Co., spurred a series of federal lawsuits from states seeking to block implementation, including Arizona, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia. They argued that the administration lacks the authority to require vaccinations and the mandates violate the U.S. Constitution.
Van Tatenhove’s order said that Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee have about $9 billion, $10 billion, and $12 billion in government contracts, respectively. Contractors that refuse to comply risk being blacklisted by the government, he said, citing Biden’s remarks from Sept. 7: “If you want to work with the federal government, vaccinate your workforce.” The states have standing, as they would likely want to renew these contracts, the judge said. The federal government’s move amounted to overreach in contracts, he said.
If a vaccination mandate has a close enough nexus to economy and efficiency in federal procurement, then the statute could be used to enact virtually any measure at the president’s whim under the guise of economy and efficiency, he said. “Although Congress used its power to delegate procurement authority to the president to promote economy and efficiency federal contracting, this power has its limits,” he wrote.
This report has been updated to include additional information.