The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Monday affirmed a preliminary injunction from the District Court for the Western District of Louisiana blocking the White House’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors. The ruling results from a 2-1 decision from the three-judge panel.
Circuit Judge Kurt Engelhardt authored the opinion of the court, ruling that the executive order that ordered the mandate was an unlawful and unprecedented use of the Administrative Services Act of 1949, also known as the Procurement Act. The court noted that questions surrounding vaccine mandates of this scale are of “vast economic and political significance.” Additionally, the court affirmed the lower court’s preliminary injunction of the mandate, stating that the mandate would result in irreparable harm in the form of “nonrecoverable compliance costs” to the plaintiff, and the “balance of harms and the public interest favors an injunction.” Circuit Judge James Graves dissented from the majority opinion. Graves asserted that the Procurement Act authorized the executive order and that the plaintiffs did not meet their burden to warrant a preliminary injunction against the mandate.
The lawsuit results from a challenge to President Joe Biden’s 2019 executive order requiring all federal contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before working on government contracts. The states of Louisiana, Indiana and Mississippi sued to invalidate the mandate in their capacity as federal contractors themselves. In response to the ruling, Louisiana Attorney General Landry stated, “Today is a victory for freedom. We will continue to stand up against the Biden Administration’s abuses of power that threaten us now and in the future.”
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would eliminate the Biden vaccine mandate for members of the armed services.