POLITICS

Utah AG joins legal action against federal vaccine mandate

Nov 5, 2021, 2:25 PM | Updated: 5:26 pm
legal action against mandate...
President Joe Biden speaks about efforts to combat COVID-19, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has filed a legal action that challenges the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for private businesses.

In early September, President Biden announced that new federal vaccine rules would be enacted and that they would affect all employers with more than 100 workers. The requirement means that those workers, as many as 80 million people nationwide, must be vaccinated or be tested for the COVID-19 virus on a weekly basis. The deadline is January 4, 2022.

On Friday, Utah joined a “petition for review” filed by the Attorney General of Texas, and AGs from Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina also signed their names at the bottom of the petition.  This is a separate matter from the earlier lawsuit Utah already joined aimed at stopping President Biden’s mandate on federal contractors.  This petition was sent to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for the appellate court to reverse the mandate on businesses with more than 100 workers.

“They’re asking for the appeal to preempt it from ever having going into effect, at all,” according to Utah Attorney General’s Office Spokesman Rich Piatt.

State officials believe the mandate will not stand up in court, for several reasons.  For instance, Piatt says OSHA is not authorized to enforce a vaccine rollout.

He says, “OSHA was created to cover working conditions for people and to ensure safety in the workplace, not to cover global pandemics.”

Piatt also says the constitutionality of the mandate is highly questionable.

“The petition is arguing that Congress doesn’t even have the authority to authorize OSHA from doing this kind of thing,” he says.

More arguments will be added to the petition, but Piatt says lawyers wanted to file it as quickly as possible to ensure a hearing before the mandate goes into effect in early January.  Piatt says this is not an anti-vaccine lawsuit.

He says, “This doesn’t have anything to do with the validity of the vaccines, whether they work or whether anyone feels they’re good or bad.”

In a statement sent to the media, Attorney General Sean Reyes said…

“As I’ve stated before, President Biden can pretend to be an emperor, but America is a free republic, not a dictatorial state. 

Vaccines may be a powerful counter to the COVID epidemic, especially for those without natural immunity. But the choice to get vaccinated is a deeply personal one that should be made free of government threats and cudgels.  Forcing that decision upon the American people is not only counterproductive but also blatantly illegal. And the President knows it.”

 

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