By Terri Jo Neff |
On Sept. 14, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sued President Joe Biden in federal court, firing one of the first salvos against a plan to create a national rule forcing private companies with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees or face substantial fines for non-compliance.
Several other state attorneys general are also pushing back, not only threatening legal action but also clarifying to private business owners and their employees that there is no national vaccination mandate at this time.
Biden’s plan announced Sept. 9 would create an emergency rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As of today, the closet the mandate has come to reality is an Oct. 12 draft of the emergency rule currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget.
Brnovich’s lawsuit contends a mandate against private businesses is one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberties and separation of powers ever attempted by a President. It also contends that at the same time millions of Arizonans would be forced to get vaccinated to keep their jobs, the White House is allowing throngs of undocumented immigrants into the state without any vaccination requirement.
Also named as defendants are U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas; U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Troy Miller; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Commissioner Tae Johnson. There has been no response filed yet in the lawsuit which will be heard in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix.
Another of the attorneys general speaking out about Biden’s plan is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said the private employer mandate is “not the way the Constitution works” and that the White House doesn’t have the authority to impose such a rule.
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor is another who is willing to follow Brnovich’s lead with litigation.
“In the event federal emergency rules are issued that place such an unlawful demand upon employers, our office will be joined by other state Attorneys General across the country to quickly sue and seek an injunction against any implementation or enforcement,” O’Connor stated, adding that any Oklahoma employer who mandates a COVID-19 vaccination does so at their own risk.
There is also Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who wrote a letter to “All Montanans” on Oct. 14 with clarification on Biden’s plan.
“There has been a great deal of confusion following President Biden’s speech regarding vaccines and whether his speech trumps Montana law,” Knudsen wrote, adding that “no such rule or regulation is currently in effect.”
Knudson pointed out it is illegal under Montana state law to discriminate based on vaccination status. He also provided information on who citizens can report violations.
But before the Biden Administration can move closer to imposing a mandate the language of the OSHA rule must be published in the Federal Register for public comment. In the meantime, various legal challenges have been brought against the President over his order that federal workers and military members be vaccinated or risk losing their job.