Judge blocks Biden’s federal worker vaccine mandate
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown of Texas issued a nationwide injunction Friday, ruling the government cannot enforce a requirement that more than 3.5 million federal employees get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. He ruled the employees meet the legal standard of facing “irreparable harm” if the government forces a medical procedure like vaccination. Brown also cited last week’s Supreme Court decision to strike down the vaccine mandate for large businesses to argue that President Joe Biden exceeded his authority.
What does this mean? The mandate went into effect in November, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Friday that 98 percent of federal employees are fully vaccinated anyway. The mandate allows for medical and religious exemptions. But the ruling prevents the government from enforcing the requirement for any current or new hires who have not yet received a vaccine. The Justice Department plans to appeal the ruling, and the White House said it is confident in the administration’s legal standing.
Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report in Liberties about the federal vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.
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