A federal judge on Monday placed a temporary injunction on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for health care workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-affiliated facilities.
Judge Matthew Schelp of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri halted the mandate for ten states that participated in a lawsuit against the federal government, led by Missouri attorney general Eric Schmidt. Schelp was appointed by former President Trump in 2019.
The decision will “ensure that federal agencies do not extend their power beyond the express delegation from Congress,” Schelp wrote in his ruling. “The public would benefit from the preliminary injunction because it would ensure that federal agencies do not extend their power beyond the express delegation from Congress, as already discussed.”
The injunction applies to Missouri as well as Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and Wyoming.
Schmidt lauded the ruling in comments on Twitter.
“The Missouri led coalition just obtained an injunction HALTING Joe Biden’s CMS Healthcare worker vaccine mandate,” Schmidt wrote. “This was an egregious overreach. We’re fighting back and winning. More to come.”
Schelp’s decision comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more workers. That mandate would have directed workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine or submit a weekly coronavirus test, while companies that didn’t comply would face a penalty of $13,653 per violation.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which the president tasked with developing the mandate, suspended enforcement of the mandate in November as a result of the Fifth Circuit court’s ruling.
The Fifth Circuit concluded in its ruling that the law that created OSHA “was not…intended to authorize a workplace safety administration in the deep recesses of the federal bureaucracy to make sweeping pronouncements on matters of public health affecting every member of society.”
The president ordered development of a vaccine mandate for large companies and for Medicare- and Medicaid-affiliated facilities in early September, although those guidelines were not released until November.
“We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers,” Biden said in a White House speech on September 9.