Appeals court OKs Biden federal employee vaccine mandate

Coronavirus Vaccine

President Joe Biden speaks about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after unveiling his proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, March 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — President Joe Biden’s requirement that all federal employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 was upheld Thursday by a federal appeals court.

In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed a lower court and ordered dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the mandate.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown, who was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of Texas by President Donald Trump, had issued a nationwide injunction against the requirement in January.

When the case was argued at the 5th Circuit last month, administration lawyers had noted that district judges in a dozen jurisdictions had rejected a challenge to the vaccine requirement for federal workers before Brown ruled.

The administration argued that the Constitution gives the president, as the head of the federal workforce, the same authority as the CEO of a private corporation to require that employees be vaccinated.

Lawyers for those challenging the mandate had pointed to a recent Supreme Court opinion that the government cannot force private employers to require employee vaccinations.

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