By Daniel Stefanski |
Arizona’s Republican leaders in the Legislature are turning to the U.S. Supreme Court for intervention in a vaccine mandate case.
On Wednesday, the 56th Arizona Legislature filed an Emergency Application to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan for a Vacatur of the Stay Pending Appeal Issued Sua Sponte by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, involving the Biden Administration’s 2021 COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees and contractors. Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court “reversed the district court’s order granting a permanent injunction and dissolved the President’s ‘Contractor Mandate’ Executive Order requiring federal contractors who worked on or in connection with federal government projects to be vaccinated against COVID-19.” The Legislature’s application seeks to reinstate that injunction, arguing that “because the Federal Respondents did not request a stay below, the Ninth Circuit overreached when it disturbed the status quo and stayed the district court’s injunction sua sponte.”
Senate President Warren Petersen issued the following statement to announce the filing spearheaded by him and House of Representatives Speaker Ben Toma: “We will not allow President Biden to blatantly undermine the will of the Arizona State Legislature in the protections we’ve provided for our citizens to prevent a COVID-19 vaccine mandate from dictating employment opportunities. The Biden Administration has made it clear that they are against any Americans who push back against this vaccine and will abuse their powers in order to force compliance as a stipulation of doing business with the federal government. Arizona will not tolerate this gross government overreach and intrusion of individual liberties. The Legislature’s intervention in this lawsuit against President Biden is critical in protecting the sovereignty of our state and the rights of all Arizonans.”
The case began as Brnovich v Biden, when former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed the first lawsuit in the nation against the president’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. At the time, Brnovich said that “the federal government cannot force people to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” and that “the Biden Administration is once again flouting our laws and precedents to push their radical agenda.” Brnovich’s suit was heard before U.S. District Court Judge Michael Liburdi, who later, in February 2022, issued a permanent injunction against the president’s mandate for federal contractors.
The Legislature’s application makes the case that this mandate is an abuse of President Biden’s authority, writing, “The Contractor Mandate is an unprecedented claim of presidential authority. Before September 2021, the federal government had never mandated vaccinations for the domestic civilian populace. Even as smallpox, polio, and influenza spread throughout the country, vaccine mandates were always viewed as an exercise of the general police power to be exercised by duly elected state legislatures and subdivisions of the States. See generally Zucht v. King, 260 U.S. 174, 176 (1922). Throughout those crises and the COVID-19 pandemic, even Congress with the full authority of Article I—has never mandated vaccination for anyone other than government personnel serving overseas or the military.”
The Arizona Senate Democrats Caucus quickly made it clear that its members were not supportive of this action taken by the Republican leaders, tweeting: “ARIZONA: The @AZSenateGOP changed the Senate rules in January 2023 to ensure that “The President is authorized to bring or assert in any forum on behalf of the Senate any claim or right arising out of any injury to the Senate’s powers or duties under the constitution or laws of this state.” Senate Democrats DO NOT support this & were not consulted about this frivolous use of state funds to take shots are our federal government. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and saved countless American lives. This is wasteful and could have severe consequences.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.