A Missouri federal judge ruled against President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health workers on Monday, making it the 10th state to block the requirement.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp granted the preliminary injunction that stopped the Biden administration from enforcing the coronavirus mandate as the attorneys general of the 10 states pursue their case.
“Congress did not clearly authorize CMS [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] to enact this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate,” Schelp wrote in the ruling.
Health care workers were expected to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022, if they wanted to remain employed.
“What the court said today was that the Biden administration has no authority, there’s no statutory authority for them to do this – none whatsoever,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said during a press conference on Monday.
“If you talk to the men and women in the health care field, who by the way a year ago were being honored as heroes and are threatened to be put on the unemployment line, they welcome this news,” Schmitt added.
Schmitt added on Twitter that Missouri was “the first state to file suit against this mandate.”
🚨Healthcare worker vaccine mandate lawsuit update:
We were the first state to file suit against this mandate and today we completed briefing in this case. We expect a ruling from the Court very soon.
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) November 24, 2021
“This was an egregious overreach,” Schmitt also said on Twitter. “We’re fighting back and winning. More to come,” he added.
🚨🚨BREAKING: The Missouri led coalition just obtained an injunction HALTING Joe Biden’s CMS Healthcare worker vaccine mandate. This was an egregious overreach. We’re fighting back and winning. More to come. #NoVaccineMandates pic.twitter.com/emQeJvtXl2
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) November 29, 2021
The Missouri ruling joined nine other states, including Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted his support of the measure on Monday.
A federal court in Missouri has blocked Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers https://t.co/fgMOVhjWzJ
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 29, 2021
The Associated Press reported the federal rule includes more than 17 million health workers nationwide in about 76,000 health care facilities as well as home health care providers funded through government health programs.
The temporary win will allow health workers in Missouri and nine other states to continue to remain employed without COVID-19 vaccination while the case proceeds.
The case closely follows a ruling by a federal judge in Florida who ruled against a temporary block for healthcare workers required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rogers turned down the lawsuit, arguing the affidavits “express[ed] opinions of agency heads who ‘estimate’ that they ‘may’ lose a certain percentage or a number of employees, or speculate as to the consequences they will suffer ‘if widespread resignations were to occur’” Rodgers wrote in the ruling.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis strongly opposed the measure in a press release prior to the ruling.
“I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs and today we made that the law. Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida. I’m thankful to Attorney General Ashley Moody for fighting against unconstitutional mandates and for joining me in standing up for freedom,” DeSantis said.
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