Feds fight back in vaccination court fight with Florida, Georgia, Alabama

Feds fight back in vaccination court fight with Florida, Georgia, Alabama

Tallahassee Florida. — Lawyers for the Biden administration late Friday urged the federal appeals court to reject a request by Florida, Georgia and Alabama to suspend a rule requiring tens of millions of workers across the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested regularly and wear masks. .

In a 26-page document filed in the 11th US Court of Appeals, federal attorneys said the rule, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration this month, is expected to save thousands of lives.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has correctly decided that employees should gather in one place and interact, which puts them at risk of transmitting a highly contagious virus in the workplace and spreading – and creating a serious risk – within the workplace,” the document said.

Florida, Georgia, Alabama and other plaintiffs, including two Christian schools in Florida, allege that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has exceeded its legal authority through the rule, known as the “temporary emergency standard.” Set to take effect January 4, the rule has asked the Atlanta-based Court of Appeals to issue a moratorium that would suspend the requirements while the legal battle continues.

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The rule will apply to employers with 100 or more workers. Those workers will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative at least once a week and wear masks — a measure that will cover 84 million workers nationally, according to a White House estimate.

The law quickly sparked legal challenges across the country, and the Fifth US Court of Appeals — which hears cases from Louisiana, Mississippi — issued a ruling on Friday that reaffirmed its moratorium. But in Monday’s motion, attorneys for Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office asked the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals for a stay.

The proposal stated that “OSHA’s ‘Temporary Emergency Standard’ is neither a workplace standard nor a response to an emergency.” Rather, it is a covert attempt to dictate personal health decisions for millions of ordinary Americans, many of whom have personal reasons. profound refusal to vaccinate.

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In the filing late Friday, attorneys from the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Labor argued that there was no need to immediately rule on the stay application filed by Florida, Georgia and Alabama. She said that appeals were launched in 11 federal appeal circuits, and that what is known as the Judicial Committee for Multi-Region Litigation is expected next week to unite the cases in one circuit.

“The court selected to adjudicate these matters will have sufficient time to decide on any preliminary motions,” the federal attorneys wrote. “To preserve judicial resources and avoid ditching in the power of another court that might hear the case, this court (Eleventh Circuit) must decline to act in this present situation.”

However, the document also defended the legality of the basic rule and countered criticism that it would require all workers at affected employers to be vaccinated.

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“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has properly exercised its discretion to offer an alternative where employees can “regularly test for COVID-19 and wear a face covering.” The standard provides employers with this choice because they are in a better position to determine which approach will secure cooperation,” the document said, citing the rule. employees and protect them.” Thus the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has crafted an approach that protects unvaccinated workers while leaving room for employers to select the most appropriate option for their workplace.”

Governor Ron DeSantis has made a high-profile case regarding the Biden administration’s resistance over COVID-19 requirements. He has called a special legislative session that will begin Monday and focus on taking steps to block vaccine and mask mandates.

In part, DeSantis maintains that imposing vaccination requirements could lead some workers to lose their jobs.

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