Opposition to new Biden vaccine mandate explodes as 27 states join fight
A total of 27 states so far have filed lawsuits against the Biden administration over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate on private businesses of 100 or more employees.
The mandate, which is being enforced by the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), will require employers to ensure all their employees are either vaccinated by Jan. 4 or are tested weekly and wearing masks. If the businesses do not follow the mandate, they could face fines of up to $14,000 per violation.
All but one of the states that filed lawsuits, Iowa, have Republican attorneys general. Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana are the only three of the 27 states that have Democratic governors, and Iowa's governor is a Republican.
Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly criticized President Biden's vaccine mandate on private businesses on Friday, saying, "While I appreciate the intention to keep people safe, a goal I share, I don't believe this directive is the correct, or the most effective, solution for Kansas."
Kelly is up for reelection next year, and her GOP challenger is the state attorney general, whose campaign called her out for waiting until the mandate went into effect to criticize it.
As for Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, he said he's unsure if the state lawsuits against the Biden administration over the vaccine mandate have merit, WDRB reported.
"I don't know the nuances of this lawsuit, but in the end, we have to follow the law as a state, so we will prepare to comply," Beshear said.
According to Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' spokeswoman, he is reviewing the "directive" and "will continue to ensure that all state resources are available to assist those employers affected by the requirements," The Advocate reported.
Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds released a statement on the lawsuit that reads: "I believe the vaccine is the best defense against COVID-19, but I also firmly believe in Iowans' right to make healthcare decisions based on what's best for themselves and their families, and I remain committed to protecting those freedoms. President Biden should do the same."
Iowa's Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller said in a statement that he was filing the lawsuit at the behest of Reynolds, according to the Des Moines Register.
"It is my duty, under the law, to prosecute or defend any actions in court when requested by the governor," his statement reads.
Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah all joined a lawsuit in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which issued a temporary block on the vaccine mandate, citing the potentially "grave statutory and constitutional issues" raised by the plaintiffs. South Carolina is under the jurisdiction of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Utah is under the 10th Circuit.
Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia jointly filed their lawsuit in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Idaho is under the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Kansas and Oklahoma are under the 10th Circuit, and West Virginia is under the 4th Circuit.
Indiana has announced that it is filing its suit in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming have filed their lawsuit in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Alaska, Arizona, and Montana are under the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, New Hampshire is under the 2nd Circuit, and Wyoming is under the 10th Circuit.
Alabama, Florida, and Georgia are suing the Biden administration in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.