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Judicial branch puts vaccine mandates on life support, as a federal judge in Georgia and a state judge in New York issue fresh injunctions


Vaccine mandates took a two-pronged blow yesterday when a U.S. District Court judge in Georgia blocked President Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors in all 50 states while a Supreme Court judge in Manhattan temporarily blocked a New York City vaccine mandate for city and private sector employees.

Quick Facts

The ruling against the federal contractor mandate, issued by U.S. District Court Judge Stan Baker representing Georgia’s Southern District, determined that President Biden “never had authority under federal procurement law to issue the executive order that established the mandate in the first place.” The government had argued that the mandate was necessary to promote “economy and efficiency under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act.”

The legal basis behind this preliminary injunction largely mirrors a similar injunction issued by a federal judge in Kentucky last week. However, the Kentucky judge’s order only applied to three states, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, whereas the Georgia judge’s decision goes much further in its scope, blocking the mandate nationwide.

“This is a big win in removing compliance hurdles for the construction industry, which is facing economic challenges, such as a workforce shortage of 430,000, rising materials prices, and supply chain issues,” said Ben Brubeck, vice president of regulatory, labor, and state affairs for Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a construction industry trade association that was a plaintiff in the case representing its 21,000 members, in a statement.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, R, indicated that the ruling will provide relief to workers “who were in fear of being forced to choose between this vaccine and their livelihood.” Other GOP officials also supported the court ruling, including Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, who said the mandate was “just an outrageous overreach by the federal government.”

In addition, a vaccine mandate for all private-sector and city employees in New York, including those who work for the New York Police Department (NYPD), which had been issued by Mayor Bill DeBlasio, was blocked by Judge Frank P. Nervo of the Supreme Court of New York until December 14, when it is set to for a hearing. The order would have required all city and private sector employees within the city’s five boroughs to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by December 27. DeBlasio’s term expires at midnight on December 31, and incoming mayor Eric Adams has said that he and his staff will evaluate the mandate and other COVID-19 strategies when he officially takes office on New Year’s Day.

With the week’s rulings, all three of Biden’s broad vaccine mandates have been blocked by federal courts. Additionally, the City of Phoenix has paused its vaccine mandate on all federal contract workers, which was set to go into effect on January 18, 2022. While Democrats, including the Biden Administration and Bill DeBlasio, continue to tout their belief that private sector vaccine mandates are a boost for the public health and the national economy, their record of success in court suggests that their reasoning may be out of touch with reality.

Executives who have attempted tyrannical mandates have run into an immovable obstacle, the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps it is time that these officials opt for another path rather than trying to enforce mandates against the will of the people.

Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to defeating COVID hasn’t worked. It hasn’t improved public health and it has served to dismantle the trust that people once had in the medical industry, not to mention their government leaders.

It’s time for the political powers that be to start looking at a multi-pronged approach to tackling COVID that is more proactive and more positive. Instead of fixating solely on vaccines, they should tout early treatment options that work to mitigate symptoms and severe disease, as well as encourage people to take control of their own health by implementing measures such as a better diet, more exercise, getting outside more often, and taking vitamins. They should also look at what has worked successfully in different states and in other countries and replicate it, no matter the politics of the leaders involved.

Whether politicians want to do this or not doesn’t really matter at this point because the judicial branch is sending a clear message to politicians: You do not have the authority to force people to get vaccinated, so find another way to combat COVID.

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