EXPAND with statements and context. ADD signatures and photo. With AP Photos. (AP) – A federal appeals court panel on Friday authorized the implementation of President Joe Biden’s mandate for employees of large companies to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
By 2 votes in favor and 1 against, a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals panel reversed the suspension of the order that a federal judge from another court had ordered for the entire United States.
The regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States (OSHA, for its acronym in English) were due to take effect on January 4. After Friday’s ruling, the date on which it could be put into practice is unknown.
States with Republican governments joined conservative groups, business associations and some individual companies in rejecting the requirement as soon as OSHA published the provisions in November. They alleged that this body was not empowered to dictate the emergency rule.
The case was consolidated before the 6th Circuit based in Cincinnati, which is dominated by Republican-appointed judges. Of the two that ruled in favor of OSHA’s mandate, one was appointed by a Democratic president and the other by a Republican. The dissenting judge was appointed by former President Donald Trump.
“Given OSHA’s clear and exercised authority to regulate virus-related situations, OSHA necessarily has the authority to regulate infectious diseases that are not unique to the workplace,” wrote Judge Julia Smith Gibbons in her majority opinion.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she will ask the US Supreme Court to block the order.
“The Sixth Circuit’s decision is extremely disappointing to Arkansans because it will force them to get the vaccine or else they will lose their jobs,” he added.
South Carolina Attorney Alan Wilson, who is also president of the Republican Attorneys Association, said on Twitter Friday that he is confident the mandate can be stopped.
The vaccine requirement would apply to companies with 100 or more employees and would cover about 84 million workers. Employees who are not fully vaccinated would have to wear masks and undergo diagnostic tests to detect the coronavirus every week. There would be exceptions for those who work outdoors or only at home.