Republican governor pleads with Supreme Court in vaccine mandate case

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) is going to continue the fight against President Joe Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for large private employers, despite the recent federal appellate court decision that lifted the stay that had been put on this mandate.

The local KCCI8 outlet in Des Moines reports that Reynolds and her fellow Republicans are now going to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn this recent decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Reynolds made the announcement in a statement that she released on Friday expressing her disappointment with the 6th Circuit’s decision.

“We are in the height of a workforce shortage and supply chain crisis, and I have no doubt these issues are only going to be compounded by this poor decision,” she said.

Background

The mandate at issue here is the one that Biden announced in September and the one that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will implement.

Under OSHA’s rule, employers with more than 100 employees have to either force their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or to undergo regular coronavirus testing by early January. Noncompliance will result in hefty fines for the employer. And, it is expected that many employers will have to resort to terminating non-compliant employees.

OSHA’s rule was met by Republican-led legal challenges across the country. These challenges have all been consolidated into cases that the 6th Circuit, which was chosen by lottery, will hear.

Before the cases got to the 6th Circuit, the 5th Circuit granted a motion that had put a temporary stay on Biden’s vaccine mandate, essentially preventing it from going into effect while it is being litigated. Just this week, the 6th Circuit overturned this stay.

The latest

The 6th Circuit three-judge panel voted 2-1 to overturn the stay, with the only dissent being an appointee of former President Donald Trump. Of the other two judges, one is a Democrat appointee and one is a Republican appointee.

“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,” the judges wrote in their ruling.

It still remains unclear how OSHA will proceed given all of the litigation that is ongoing.

It is also unclear how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule when this issue inevitably makes it before the court.

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