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Appeals court revives Biden's federal employee vaccine mandate

Most employees were in compliance with the mandate by December.

Published: April 7, 2022 7:43pm

Updated: April 7, 2022 8:33pm

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday revived President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees in the executive branch.

The decision comes after the appeals court said in February it was reviewing a lower court's hold on the mandate.

The vaccine requirement applies to almost 3.5 million federal employees. They were required to be vaccinated by the end of November, and most employees were in compliance with the mandate by December.

The court ruled two to one in favor of the mandate and said that under the Civil Service Reform Act, which focuses on federal employees' workplace disputes, the lower court did not have the jurisdiction to issue an injunction to halt the vaccine mandate.

Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale, a George W. Bush appointee, dissented. She wrote that "the President seeks to require an entire class of employees to be vaccinated or be subject to an adverse action."

If the plaintiffs appeal the 5th Circuit's decision,  the case could go to the Supreme Court or the full appellate court.

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