Gov. Abbott challenges Biden administration’s vaccine mandate in federal court

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday filed a challenge to President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in federal court.

The petition was filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That’s the same court that temporarily halted the vaccine mandate earlier this month, and on Friday declined to lift its stay on the mandate.

Abbott’s petition calls on the court to cancel the mandate imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA’s rules require workers of any company with more than 100 employees to get vaccinated by the start of 2022 or test weekly.

The governor claims he is “uniquely entitled to judicial review,” because the mandate goes against an executive order he issued.

“This Court should vacate OSHA’s Mandate, which ‘runs afoul of the statute from which it draws its power and likely, violates the constitutional structure that safeguards our collective liberty,'” the petition reads. “OSHA is trying to deliver on President Biden’s empty threat that ‘if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as President to get them out of the way.’ Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-40 need not yield to President Biden’s unconstitutional power grab.” 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also filed for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction Monday to stop the federal vaccine mandate.

“The President’s blatant disdain for those who choose to not receive a vaccine will not be allowed to seep into the great State of Texas,” Paxton said in a statement. “Here, we protect individual liberties first and foremost, and Texans do not have to sacrifice their beliefs and their health to preserve their livelihoods.” 

The Associated Press reports more than 20 states have filed legal challenges in federal appeals courts after OSHA released its rules on Nov. 4.

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