WASHINGTON—The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit issued a ruling Friday dissolving a stay previously issued by the 5th Circuit and allowing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to reinstate its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts announced that Heritage, a petitioner in the case, will challenge the decision.
“The American people should be able to make their own personal medical decisions without the federal government forcing their employers to punish them or collect their private information. The Heritage Foundation, along with many other American businesses and nonprofit organizations challenging this mandate, views the government’s action as a serious threat to our individual liberty.
“President Biden was wrong to impose this authoritarian mandate on the American people and the circuit court’s ruling only adds confusion and uncertainty. If this ruling is upheld, it will set a dangerous precedent for future encroachments upon our freedom.
“The Heritage Foundation filed our lawsuit with the expectation that the U.S. Supreme Court would ultimately decide the fate of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Accordingly, Heritage will explore all legal options for challenging the circuit court’s decision.
“While we are disappointed in the 6th Circuit’s misguided ruling, we remain confident we will ultimately prevail. Until then, we won’t stop fighting for the millions of Americans affected by this unlawful mandate.”
BACKGROUND: The Heritage Foundation announced Nov. 29 that it filed its first-ever lawsuit challenging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate on businesses with at least 100 workers.
In the filing, Heritage highlights OSHA’s own previous resistance to issuing new rules on a COVID vaccine mandate, and subsequently argues that the mandate is unlawful for four key reasons:
- “OSHA’s Mandate represents a gross abuse of power and is a far cry from the ‘delicate exercise’ permitted in very ‘limited situations.’”
- “The Mandate clearly encroaches on the police power of states expressly reserved by the Tenth Amendment.”
- “It also exceeds the federal government’s authority under the Commerce Clause.”
- “Allowing the ultra vires Mandate to stand would impermissibly ‘compel citizens to act as the Government would have them act.’”
In a new legal memorandum published Friday, Heritage’s Paul Larkin and Doug Badger write that OSHA “lacks the capacity to consider all of the factors relevant to a policy decision on vaccine mandates: from the constitutional to the medical, the economic to the epidemiological, the theoretical to the practical.”
Heritage retained the American Center for Law and Justice to represent them in this matter. Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, is based in Washington, D.C., and is online at aclj.org.