On Friday, a federal judge ruled against the Biden administration’s mandate that orders all federal employees get vaccinated against COVID-19. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown said President Biden didn’t have the authority to “mandate that all federal employees consent to vaccination against COVID-19 or lose their jobs.”
The ruling comes after a federal judge in Georgia blocked the mandate ordering federal contractors get vaccinated last month.
“The court notes at the outset that this case is not about whether folks should get vaccinated against COVID-19—the court believes they should,” Brown wrote. “It is not even about the federal government’s power, exercised properly, to mandate vaccination of its employees. It is instead about whether the President can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment. That, under the current state of the law as just recently expressed by the Supreme Court, is a bridge too far,” the judge said.
The lawsuit came about after a coalition of federal employees and contractors sued the Biden administration in December over the two executive orders.
“While vaccines are undoubtedly the best way to avoid serious illness from COVID-19, there is no reason to believe that the public interest cannot be served via less restrictive measures than the mandate, such as masking, social distancing, or part- or full-time remote work,” Brown wrote. “The plaintiffs note, interestingly, that even full-time remote federal workers are not exempt from the mandate. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 will not be achieved by overbroad policies like the federal-worker mandate.”
The Department of Justice will appeal the ruling, according to The Wall Street Journal.