Oklahoma, 6 other Attorneys General file lawsuit against Biden administration over COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private sector

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Nurse loads a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, in Jackson, Miss.

Tameiki Lee, a nurse with the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, loads a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, in Jackson, Miss., across the street from Jackson State University, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. The university in cooperation with Jackson-Hinds, provided vaccinations for community residents, faculty, staff and students, free of charge. The Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning voted last week to ban public universities from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for students, faculty and staff. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Friday, Attorney General John O’Connor partnered with six other attorneys general to file a petition before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit against the federal government to stop its mandatory vaccination requirement against COVID-19 for private sector employees.

“In Oklahoma, President Biden will not determine how an individual makes healthcare decisions for themselves and their families,” General O’Connor said. “The Biden Administration continuously uses federal overreach to strip away Americans’ constitutional rights and I will continue to defend the rule of law against this absurd abuse of power.”

Tens of millions of Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly, the White House said Thursday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said companies that fail to comply could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation.

The new requirements, which were first previewed by President Joe Biden in September, will apply to about 84 million workers at medium and large businesses, although it is not clear how many of those employees are unvaccinated.

Tougher rules will apply to another 17 million people who work in nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities that receive money from Medicare and Medicaid. Those workers will not have an option for testing and will need to be vaccinated.

OSHA says workers will be able to ask for exemptions on medical or religious grounds.

The attorneys general argue that the power to issue emergency temporary standards was delegated to OSHA by Congress for the express purpose of protecting employees from grave dangers posed by exposure to substances or physically harmful toxins encountered at work.

However, that authority does not extend to risks that are equally prevalent at work and in society at large. Just last year, OSHA refused to issue a nationwide emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 because “COVID-19 is a community-wide hazard that is not unique to the workplace.”

The attorneys general ask the court to halt President Biden’s vaccine mandate until the court rules on the legitimacy of the rule.  

“We are thankful for the support of the legislature to bring this lawsuit on behalf of the State and the governor,” General O’Connor said. “With their support, we can protect hardworking Oklahomans from this reckless and unconstitutional federal overreach.”

Attorney General O’Connor joined the lawsuit alongside attorneys general from Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

View a copy of the filing here.

Attorney General O’Connor and 20 other Attorneys General wrote President Biden last week to challenge his Administration’s mandatory vaccination requirement for federal contractors.

Yesterday, the State of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the federal government to stop its mandatory vaccination requirement against COVID-19 for federally contracted employees.

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