Judge Suspends Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate

Published date21 December 2021
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Health & Safety, Government Measures, Employment and Workforce Wellbeing, Reporting and Compliance
Law FirmKutak Rock LLP
AuthorKutak Rock
On December 7, 2021 a U.S. District Court judge in Georgia granted a nationwide preliminary injunction putting a hold on the Biden Administration's implementation of its Executive Order (EO 14042) mandating vaccines for all federal contractors and subcontractors. Under the EO, employees of contractors and subcontractors were required to be fully vaccinated by no later than January 4, 2022, at the risk of losing their jobs Yesterday's ruling came on the heels of a previous ruling by a U.S. District Court judge in Kentucky who granted a similar injunction but only made the injunction effective in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Both judges followed similar reasoning, and together they pose a significant challenge for the Administration to overcome.

Here are a few key excerpts from the decision

As another Court that has preliminarily enjoined the same measure at issue in this case has stated, "[t]his case is not about whether vaccines are effective. They are." Kentucky v. Biden, No. 3:21-cv-55, 2021 WL 5587446, at *9 (E.D. Ky. Nov. 30, 2021). Moreover, the Court acknowledges the tragic toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought throughout the nation and the globe. However, even in times of crisis this Court must preserve the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the bounds of their constitutionally granted authorities. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has recognized that, while the public indisputably "has a strong interest in combating the spread of [COVID-19]," that interest does not permit the government to "act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends." Ala. Ass'n of Realtors v. HHS, 141 S. Ct. 2485, 2490 (2021) (citing Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 582, 585–86 (1952)). In this case, Plaintiffs will likely succeed in their claim that the President exceeded the authorization given to him by Congress through the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act when issuing Executive Order 14042. Accordingly, after due consideration of the motions, supporting briefs, responsive briefing, and the evidence and argument presented at the hearing,1 the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the Motion...

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