Federal court refuses to revoke stay on vaccine mandate

WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal court on Friday refused to overturn its stay on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for companies with 100 or more workers.

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last Saturday granted an emergency stay because of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s requirement that these workers be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or requirements for face masks and weekly tests.

Attorneys for the Department of Justice and Labor filed a response Monday in which they said stopping the mandate from coming into force would only prolong the COVID-19 pandemic and would “cost dozens or even hundreds of lives a day.”

But the appellate court rejected that argument Friday. Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt wrote that the stay “is determined in the public interest.”

“From economic insecurity to workplace strife, the mere ghost of the mandate has contributed to countless economic upheavals in recent months,” Engelhardt wrote.

At least 27 states have filed legal appeals in at least six federal appeals courts after OSHA released its rules on Nov. 4. The federal government said in its court documents Monday that the cases should be consolidated and that one of the district courts where a legal challenge has been filed should be chosen at random on November 16 to hear it.

Administration attorneys said there is no reason to keep the vaccine mandate on hold while it court where the cases ultimately land remain unresolved.

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