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Sixth Circuit panel denies Biden Admin request to pause injunction against contractor vax mandate

The refusal mirrors a similar decision made by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

Published: January 6, 2022 12:33pm

Updated: January 6, 2022 2:54pm

A panel judges representing the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected a request from the Biden Administration for a stay of a lower court injunction that barred the enforcement of a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for federal contractors.

In plain language, the administration would like to see its vaccine mandate, which was successfully challenged in a lower court, move forward as planned.

The three-judge panel was divided on the issue, with Judge John Bush writing for the majority, and Judge R. Guy Cole dissenting in part.

The opinion of the court explains that, in this instance, the federal government has "re-envisioned" the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act by mandating that "employees of federal contractors in "covered contract[s]" with the federal government become fully vaccinated against COVID-19."

"That directive sweeps in at least one-fifth of our nation's workforce, possibly more. And so an act establishing an efficient "system of property management," S. Rep. 1413 at 1 (1948), was transformed into a novel font of federal authority to regulate the private health decisions of millions of Americans," reads the opinion. "Because the government has established none of the showings required to obtain a stay, we DENY such relief."

The case, Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. Joseph R. Biden, is one of a handful of pending court challenges to the federal contractor employee vaccine mandate. The mandate differs from the mandate for healthcare workers and the OHSA mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees. Each has successfully been challenged and will be considered Friday by the Supreme Court.

A similar case pertaining specifically to the federal contractor requirement was recently assessed similarly by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which declined to stay the injunction placed on the mandate in Georgia vs. BidenThe decision was acknowledged by Judge Cole in his dissent.

"I recognize that the Eleventh Circuit recently declined to stay the national injunction imposed by Georgia v. Biden," he wrote. "Even still, I find that the government has made a "strong showing" in this case that it will prevail on the merits and has established that it will suffer irreparable harm without a stay."

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