Federal Appeals Court Deals Win to Biden, Upholds Vaccine Mandate for Federal Workers

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  • 03/02/2023

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled to uphold Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers, ordering that a preliminary injunction issued against it be eliminated. 

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 to reverse an earlier decision by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown in Texas, who blocked the mandate for federal workers, The Hill reports

The 5th Circuit Court further ordered that the district court dismiss the case altogether. 

Writing for the majority opinion, Judge Carl Stewart said plaintiffs in the case could have challenged the vaccine mandate through the federal government’s internal process for federal workers.

“The plaintiffs could have challenged an agency’s proposed action against them before filing this suit and certainly before getting vaccinated,” the judge wrote.

Feds for Medical Freedom, a 6,000-member organization, filed a lawsuit in December, arguing that the order exceeds Biden’s authority as president. The federal judge in Texas agreed and blocked the mandate in January, but the government appealed to the 5th Circuit.

“The plaintiffs here seek to avoid discipline for failing to comply with [the executive order],” the judge wrote.

On the other hand, Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale argued in a dissenting opinion that the relief plaintiffs seek does not fall within the CSRA’s jurisdiction, arguing the “case at hand is instead a pre-enforcement challenge to a government-wide policy, imposed by the President, that would affect the 2.1 million federal civilian workers.”

“The President seeks to require an entire class of employees to be vaccinated or be subject to an adverse action. Simply put, CSRA does not cover pre-enforcement employment actions,” Barksdale wrote.

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