A federal judge in Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday which temporarily halts President Joe Biden‘s vaccination mandate for federal government contractors and subcontractors from taking effect in three states.
The lawsuit was brought by Kentucky’s Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron and joined by the attorneys general of Tennessee and Ohio. U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove made the ruling, according to The Associated Press.
The mandate would require employees of federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID by Jan. 4.
“The question presented here is narrow,” Van Tatenhove wrote in his ruling. “Can the president use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors? In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no.”
The lawsuit claims the mandate is “unlawful and unconstitutional,” arguing Biden does not have the authority to make such requirements of federal contractors.
“This is not about vaccines, it’s about the mandates,” said Ohio’s Republican Attorney General Dave Yost in a statement, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “The judge’s opinion clearly states that, and it has been our position all along that the president cannot impose these mandates on the people.”
The ruling comes amid a tumultuous few days for Biden’s vaccine mandates, as Van Tatenhove’s ruling became the third since Monday morning to slow one of the several mandates being challenged in courts across the country.
Two judges in Louisiana and Missouri halted the administration’s mandates in the healthcare industry in dozens of states, according to CNN.
Both decisions are likely to be appealed by the Biden administration, along with the court decision that blocked the mandate of vaccination or testing for companies larger than 100 employees earlier this month.
“Simply put, delaying the Standard would likely cost many lives per day, in addition to large numbers of hospitalizations, other serious health effects, and tremendous expenses,” the administration said in a court filing asking the 6th Circuit to reinstate the vaccination-or-testing mandate, according to CNN.
For more reporting from The Associated Press, see below.
“This is a significant ruling because it gives immediate relief from the federal government’s vaccine requirement to Kentuckians who either contract with the federal government or work for a federal contractor,” Cameron said in a statement.
“This is not a case about whether vaccines are effective. They are,” Van Tatenhove wrote. “Nor is this a case about whether the government, at some level, and in some circumstances, can require citizens to obtain vaccines. It can.”
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