Several US states asked a federal judge to block Biden’s requirement that all employees of federal contractors be vaccinated against the coronavirus by December 8.
Eighteen states have filed three separate lawsuits to stop President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, arguing that the requirement violates federal law.
Texas filed a lawsuit on Friday in a federal district court in Galveston, Texas, seeking to block enforcement of the mandate.
Attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming signed on to one lawsuit, which was filed in a federal district court in Missouri.
Another group of states including Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Georgia.
Florida sued on Thursday, bringing to 19 the number of states challenging the Biden administration mandate in four federal courts.
Lawsuits argue overreach of federal power
The states asked a federal judge to block Biden’s requirement that all employees of federal contractors be vaccinated against the coronavirus by December 8, arguing that the mandate violates federal procurement law and is an overreach of federal power.
Biden has argued that sweeping vaccine mandates will help end the deadly pandemic, but Republicans nationwide have opposed the vaccination requirements and have threatened to bring similar legal challenges.
A number of states have also said they will challenge Biden's plan to have the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration issue a rule that would mandate vaccines for all private businesses with 100 or more employees.
“We will not allow the Biden administration to circumvent the law or force hardworking Georgians to choose between their livelihood or this vaccine,” Republican Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia said in a statement.
The Democratic Party of Georgia called the lawsuit a “dangerous political stunt.”
Illegal use of federal spending
All the suits argue that the president doesn’t have the authority to issue the rule and that it violates procurement law.
The suits also argue that the rule violates the 10th Amendment reserving power to the states, illegally uses federal spending to coerce the states, and that 60 days of public comment wasn't properly allowed.
The Georgia-led suit, for example, argues that such a rule could only stand if Congress passed it in a law.
“Biden has again demonstrated open disdain for the rule of law in seizing power Congress never gave him,” Republican Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said.
The states argue that large number of federal contract workers will quit, meaning states will have to choose between breaching the contracts because of a reduced labor force that can't do all the work, or breaching the contracts by retaining unvaccinated employees in violation of federal rules.
All but two of the states that have sued trail the national average in vaccination rate. Only New Hampshire and Florida exceed the nationwide rate.