Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced his decision to take his opposition to a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large businesses to the Supreme Court.
The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday allowed President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for larger private employers to move ahead in a 2-1 vote, reversing a previous decision on a requirement that could affect some 84 million U.S workers. Under the directive, companies with more than 100 employees must require that their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested weekly for the virus
The mandate from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was to take effect Jan. 4. With Friday’s ruling, it’s not clear when the requirement might be put in place, but the White House said in a statement that it will protect workers: “Especially as the U.S. faces the highly transmissible Omicron variant, it’s critical we move forward with vaccination requirements and protections for workers with the urgency needed in this moment.”
“Given OSHA’s clear and exercised authority to regulate viruses, OSHA necessarily has the authority to regulate infectious diseases that are not unique to the workplace,” Judge Julia Smith Gibbons, who was nominated to the court by former President George W. Bush, a Republican, wrote in her majority opinion. “Vaccination and medical examinations are both tools that OSHA historically employed to contain illness in the workplace.”
Republican state attorneys general and conservative groups have vehemently opposed required precautions and said they would appeal Friday’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Among them, Texas Attorney General Paxton called the mandate “un-American” and said on Twitter that he would “immediately take this to [the Supreme Court] to seek a reversal.”