Yes, Covid-19 vaccine mandates are legal
What the law says about vaccine mandates, explained.After a local pastor was fined for violating this vaccine mandate, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court told him to pound sand in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge on Monday blocked President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate on thousands of health care workers in 10 states that had brought the first legal challenge against the requirement. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks during a news conference in St. Louis on Aug. 6, 2020. A federal judge has blocked President Joe Biden's administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate on health care workers in 10 states. The preliminary injunction issued Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, applies to a coalition of suing states. They are Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
The court order said that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid had no clear authority from Congress to enact the vaccine mandate for providers participating in the two government health care programs for the elderly, disabled and poor.
Over 95 Percent of Federal Workers Complying with Biden's COVID Vaccine Mandate
Monday was the deadline for more than 3.5 million federal workers to get at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine without an option for frequent testing.Monday was set as the deadline for more than 3.5 million federal workers to get at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine without an option for frequent testing, the Associated Press reported.
The preliminary injunction by St. Louis-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp applies to a coalition of suing states that includes Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. All those states have either a Republican attorney general or governor. Similar lawsuits also are pending in other states.
The federal rule requires COVID-19 vaccinations for more than 17 million workers nationwide in about 76,000 health care facilities and home health care providers that get funding from the government health programs. Workers are to receive their first dose by Dec. 6 and their second shot by Jan. 4.
The court order against the health care vaccine mandate comes after Biden's administration suffered a similar setback for a broader policy. A federal court previously placed a hold on a separate rule requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers get vaccinated or else wear masks and get tested weekly for the coronavirus.
Washington Nationals sued by ex-employees over vaccine firing
The Washington Nationals are being sued by two former employees who were fired for refusing to comply with the team’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Lawrence (Larry) Pardo and Brad Holman were pitching coaches in the Nats’ organization. The two refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons and were fired by the Nats as a result. The team instituted a mandate on Aug. 12 that went into effect on Sept. 10, leading to the firing of both men.Now the two have filed a lawsuit against the club, TMZ Sports reports.
Biden’s administration contends federal rules supersede state policies prohibiting vaccine mandates and are essential to slowing the pandemic, which has killed more than 775,000 people in the U.S. About three-fifths of the U.S. population already is fully vaccinated.
But the judge in the health care provider case wrote that federal officials likely overstepped their legal powers.
“CMS seeks to overtake an area of traditional state authority by imposing an unprecedented demand to federally dictate the private medical decisions of millions of Americans. Such action challenges traditional notions of federalism," Schelp wrote in his order.
Even under an exceedingly broad interpretation of federal powers, Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact "this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate,” wrote Schelp, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump.
Biden wishes Americans happy, closer-to-normal Thanksgiving
NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday wished Americans a happy and closer-to-normal Thanksgiving, the second celebrated in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, in remarks welcoming the resumption of holiday traditions by millions of families — including his own. “As we give thanks for what we have, we also keep in our hearts those who have been lost and those who have lost so much,” the president said in a videotaped greeting recorded with first lady Jill Biden at the White House before their trip to Nantucket, Massachusetts, for the holiday. On the island, the Bidens visited the Coast Guard station at Brant Point to meet virtually with U.S.
While a vaccine requirement might make sense for long-term care facilities, Schelp wrote, CMS lacks evidence for imposing it on other health care providers and ignored evidence that the mandate could jeopardize understaffed facilities. The judge also said CMS improperly bypassed public notice and comment requirements when issuing the emergency rule, which “feeds into the very vaccine hesitancy CMS acknowledges is so daunting.”
A CMS spokesperson said the agency was reviewing the court order.
“Staff in any health care setting who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health,” CMS said in a statement Monday. "That is why it is critical for health care providers to ensure their staff are vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who spearheaded the lawsuit, said the ruling “pushes back on the overreach of power" by those who are “using the coronavirus as a tool” for control over people.
Officials in several states also praised the court ruling. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said “nursing homes were at risk of closure" if the mandate remained.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said the vaccine is the best defense against COVID-19, but medical providers “deserve the freedom and ability to make their own informed health care decisions.”
Senate Republicans move to block Biden's vaccine mandate with help from Democrats Manchin, Tester .
The effort is unlikely to get anywhere in the House. The fate of the mandate will lie in the hands of the courts, which are weighing challenges.Biden announced this fall that businesses with 100 or more employers would have to require their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, or be tested at least weekly. The rule, issued through the federal Occupational Safety and Hazards Administration, is already on hold thanks to the ruling last month of a federal appeals court which called it "staggeringly overbroad.