A federal appeals court temporarily halted the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate that required businesses with over 100 employees to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.
The three-judge panel issued the ruling Saturday morning, saying that since the petitioners "give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby STAYED pending further action by this court."
The court gave the federal government until 5:00 pm today to respond to the stay.
Biden's order would have gone into effect on Jan. 4 under an emergency temporary standard from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
It calls for businesses to either require vaccinations – or – weekly testing for unvaccinated employees, and employees would pay for those tests.
Businesses that don't find a way to enforce the mandate will face a $14,000 fine per violation, which would increase with repeat offenses.
But some states are pushing back. At least 27 are taking legal action which would affect 84 million private employees nationwide.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, is publicly speaking out against it.
"Yesterday, I reviewed the new vaccine mandate from the Biden Administration. While I appreciate the intention to keep people safe, a goal I share, I don’t believe this directive is the correct, or the most effective, solution for Kansas," she said in a statement released Friday before the court's ruling.
"States have been leading the fight against COVID-19 from the start of the pandemic. It is too late to impose a federal standard now that we have already developed systems and strategies that are tailored for our specific needs," she continued.
Governor Laura Kelly's statement addressing the new federal vaccine mandate: pic.twitter.com/lAFAs3pQLK
— Governor Laura Kelly (@GovLauraKelly) November 5, 2021
Saturday's court order came in response to a joint petition from several states including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and state Attorney General Ken Paxton rejoiced over the ruling.
BREAKING: The Federal Court of Appeals just issued a temporary halt to Biden's vaccine mandate.
Emergency hearings will take place soon.
We will have our day in court to strike down Biden's unconstitutional abuse of authority. pic.twitter.com/8utmU05vw3
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 6, 2021
Paxton sued the Biden administration last week over the mandate, arguing that the measure was "flatly unconstitutional."
The attorney general tweeted, "WE WON. The fight is not over and I will never stop resisting this Admin's unconstitutional overreach!"
Yesterday, I sued the Biden Admin over its unlawful OSHA vax mandate.
WE WON. Just this morning, citing "grave statutory and constitutional issues," the 5th Circuit stayed the mandate. The fight is not over and I will never stop resisting this Admin's unconstitutional overreach! https://t.co/Vbez0HL9t5
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) November 6, 2021
Opponents also note that COVID-19 cases have declined from a recent wave in September and that the U.S. is nearing herd immunity.
White House Pushes Back Federal Contractor Deadline
Meanwhile, federal employees are also facing a deadline on Jan. 4 to get their final shots. The White House pushed the deadline back last Thursday. The previous deadline was Dec. 8.
While most of the federal employees report they are complying, thousands are seeking exemptions on religious grounds.
As CBN News reported, the state of Florida has sued the Biden administration over its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the lawsuit on Oct. 28, saying the president doesn't have the authority to issue the rule, and that it violates a key element of the law.
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