The Biden administration cannot enforce its COVID vaccine mandate on federal contractors, according to a ruling on Monday.
A 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the mandate in a 2-1 decision.
“The President’s use of procurement regulations to reach through an employing contractor to force obligations on individual employees is truly unprecedented,” the ruling concluded. “As such, Executive Order 14042 is unlawful, and the Plaintiff States have consequently demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits.”
The ruling also noted the concern of government overreach, citing a lack of congressional involvement to approve the Biden administration’s order.
“Congress has not spoken clearly to authorize such a dramatic shift in the exercise of the President’s power under the Procurement Act,” the ruling concluded.
Judge James Graves dissented in the ruling, citing the decision as the first time an executive order under the Procurement Act was struck down.
“When actions taken are in the mainstream of American businesses, that points towards permitting the executive order,” he wrote. “Economic factors would prevent the president from handicapping the contractor workforce with extreme contractual terms.”
The states of Indiana, Louisiana, and Mississippi filed the case. In December 2021, a district court blocked enforcement of the mandate against federal contractors.
The federal government has contracts with thousands of companies, with the coronavirus vaccine mandate potentially impacting up to 20% of America’s workforce, according to Reuters.
“Today is a victory for freedom,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement. “We will continue to stand up against the Biden Administration’s abuses of power that threaten us now and in the future.”
In October, the White House directed federal agencies not to seek enforcement of the federal contractor mandate due to court rulings.
As The Daily Wire reported in November 2021, a federal judge in Kentucky also issued a preliminary injunction against the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.
The case is one of the multiple recent examples of COVID vaccine mandates that have faced recent legal challenges. On Monday, a federal judge approved a class action settlement of more than $10 million for workers at an Illinois healthcare system whose religious exemptions against taking the vaccine were rejected.
“After many months and long hours, we are pleased to finally get the court’s final approval of this classwide settlement for these health care workers who were unlawfully discriminated against and denied religious exemptions from the COVID shot mandate,” Liberty Counsel Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel Harry Mihet, whose organization represented the health care workers, said in a statement.