On November 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided to issue a stay on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) emergency temporary standard (ETS), which would then implement the Biden administration's COVID vaccine mandate for private companies with at least 100 employees.
Following the court's stay, the OSHA has announced that it has suspended the implementation and enforcement of the COVID vaccine mandate, pending future decisions of the court.
According to Fox 59, the decision of the Court of Appeals ordered the OSHA to refrain from taking steps to implement the measure or enforce the ETS "until further court order." Under OSHA's ETS, companies must abide by guidance that ordered the development, implementation, and enforcement of a mandatory COVID vaccination policy that says employees must be vaccinated or subjected to weekly testing and wearing of face masks. Companies had 30 days to implement the policy beginning November 5.
But the Biden administration's COVID vaccine mandate was met with several challenges, including 34 objections filed in all 11 federal regional circuits and one for the District of Columbia. According to WND, following the decision to issue a stay on the mandate on November 6, the Fifth Circuit also released a long opinion in which it "signaled in the strongest of possible terms that it was poised to find that the rule does exceed OSHA's statutory authority in several ways and is unconstitutional."
Meanwhile, over 24 lawsuits challenging the Biden vaccine mandate were consolidated into one on Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, CNBC reported. Eleven out of the 16 judges on the bench were appointed by Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, while only five were appointed by former Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. A three-judge panel will then hear the case against the Biden administration. However, the Supreme Court will most likely be the one to deliver the ultimate decision.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit's Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt wrote in the opinion issued on Friday that the Biden administration's vaccine mandate was "fatally flawed" and raised serious concerns over its constitutionality. The Biden administration then requested for the multidistrict litigation panel to consolidate all the lawsuits into a single court by random selection. The Sixth CIrcuit was then assigned to decide if the mandate should be halted permanently.
The vote can still go either way, as the randomly selected panel will be composed of two Republican appointees and one Democratic appointee. The Sixth Circuit is also known to be less conservative than the Fifth Circuit.
The Biden administration is facing numerous challenges in the face of its COVID vaccine mandate. Republican attorneys general in at least 26 states filed lawsuits against the administration's COVID vaccine and testing mandates, as well as private companies. Major industry groups such as the National Retail Federation, the American Trucking Associations and National Federation of Independent Business have also filed their own challenges as well.
Labor unions are also expressing disapproval over the vaccine mandates, as they filed a lawsuit to expand the vaccine mandates to cover smaller businesses as well. Meanwhile, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union filed their own petitions last week.