CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey partnered with six other attorneys general to file a petition before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for private sector employees.
The coalition asked the court to review the emergency temporary standard issued by the Biden Administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which requires the vaccination or burdensome weekly testing of tens of millions of citizens. The group also asked the court to stay the immediate effect of the mandate.
“OSHA’s vaccination mandate represents a real threat to individual liberty,” Attorney General Morrisey said, “As we have seen throughout the country, it is also a public policy disaster that displaces vulnerable workers and exacerbates a nationwide shortage of frontline workers, with severe consequences for all Americans.”
Despite warnings from attorneys general across the country about the illegality of a vaccine mandate of this kind, the Biden administration issued the emergency temporary standard through OSHA.
In the petition, the coalition challenges the legality of the Biden Administration’s emergency temporary standard and asks the 6th Circuit to review the validity of the mandate, arguing that OSHA lacks statutory and constitutional authority to issue it.
The coalition argues that Congress delegated the power to issue emergency temporary standards was delegated to OSHA for the express purpose of protecting employees from grave dangers posed by exposure to substances or physically harmful toxins encountered at work. That authority, however, does not extend to risks that are equally prevalent at work and in society at large.
The coalition notes that just last year, OSHA refused to issue a nationwide emergency temporary standard for COVID-19.
The coalition also contends that the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate prohibits sovereign states from enacting and enforcing their own policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, writing, “Each Petitioner State has enacted its own laws and policies—or declined to issue certain mandates—in a way that balances the need for public health with the right of its citizens.”
OSHA’s mandate takes away that power from the states and prevents policymakers from enacting policies that are beneficial to their respective states.
The related motion to stay by the attorneys general asks the court to halt President Biden’s vaccine mandate until the court rules on the legitimacy of the rule.
In issuing the standard, President Biden and OSHA relied upon a statute that has been used just seven times since 1971 and just once since 1983. The most recent instance, earlier this summer, is being challenged, while five of the previous six uses were overturned to some degree.
West Virginia joined the lawsuit alongside attorneys general from Kentucky, Idaho, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.