Judge stops vaccine mandate on federal contractors

A U.S. District Court has temporarily suspended a vaccine mandate for companies that contract with the U.S. government.

Under a Biden administration directive, companies such as Google and Lockheed Martin had until Jan. 4 to fully vaccinate all employees against COVID-19. But U.S. District Judge R. Stan Baker on Tuesday blocked the requirement while legal challenges wind their way through the courts.

Another judge froze the mandate for Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio, but Baker’s motion expands it nationwide.

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What was the reason? Baker said challengers to the vaccine mandate are likely to succeed with their claim that President Joe Biden had exceeded his statutory authority when he issued the mandate.

The Biden administration has said vaccines are essential to mitigate a possible winter surge of coronavirus infections.

Baker wrote that these circumstances do not override constitutional concerns: “Even in times of crisis this Court must preserve the rule of law.” He also wrote that the mandate is expensive, hard to implement, and might cause further worker shortages.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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