Arizona to sue to block Biden vaccination mandate for private companies

Attorney General Brnovich says Biden administration plan is unconstitutional.

Updated: November 5, 2021 - 12:47am

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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Thursday his office is challenging an incoming COVID-19 vaccination mandate for large employers.

Brnovich is suing the Biden administration over its “unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine mandate" for federal employees, contractors and private businesses with more than 100 employees.

“The federal government cannot force people to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” Brnovich said. “The Biden Administration is once again flouting our laws and precedents to push their radical agenda. There can be no serious or scientific discussion about containing the spread of COVID-19 that doesn’t begin at our southern border.”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its latest rule this week, saying businesses with 100 or more employees must prove their vaccination status or subject workers to weekly COVID-19 tests by Jan. 4.

“Across all three requirements, workers will need to have the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated – either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson – no later than January 4, 2022,” the White House said Thursday.

The change also applies to federal workers, contractors and hundreds of thousands of health care industry workers. Refusal to comply with either option means termination.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey reacted to the new mandate Thursday, calling the private employer rule an overreach.

"This is a direct attack on not just personal liberty but also the very businesses – large and small – that keep our state, country and economy running," Ducey said. "After the difficulties that COVID-19 has posed for individuals, businesses and the current workforce shortages, the administration should be assisting with getting them back on their feet rather than imposing more regulatory burdens."

Also filing a legal challenge to the rule was the business advocacy group, Job Creators Network, which filed a lawsuit Thursday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Brnovich filed another federal challenge to Biden’s vaccine mandate Sept. 14, claiming the mandate unfairly favored undocumented immigrants who enter the country without any such vaccination requirement.

Brnovich contends the mandate runs afoul of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“Under our Constitution, the President is not a king who can exercise this sort of unbridled power unilaterally,” the complaint states. “And even George III wouldn’t have dreamed that he could enact such sweeping policies by royal decree alone.”

The complaint asks the District Court of Arizona to rule the mandates unconstitutional.