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Federal appeals court reinstates Biden’s vaccine mandate

The appeals court ruled that OSHA has the authority to regulate viruses in the workplace.

Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden at a campaign stop in Michigan in October 2020 just days before the 2020 election. (VIA BIDEN CAMPAIGN)

A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employers of more than 100 workers can move forward, overruling another federal judge who had halted the mandate nationwide. 

The move paves the way for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to begin enforcing the mandate, which requires those business ensure workers are either vaccinated or are tested weeky. 

“Given OSHA’s clear and exercised authority to regulate viruses, OSHA necessarily has the authority to regulate infectious diseases that are not unique to the workplace,” wrote Judge Julia Smith Gibbons, in the federal panel’s majority opinion, according to the Associated Press “Vaccination and medical examinations are both tools that OSHA historically employed to contain illness in the workplace. 

Gibbons wrote that the vaccine requirement is not a novel expansion of OSHA’s power but “is an existing application of authority to a novel and dangerous worldwide pandemic.”

The Biden administration estimates  that the vaccine mandate would save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over six months. 

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is one of numerous Republican AG’s who signed on to a  motion seeking an injunction attempting to block Biden’s vaccine mandate. Marshall celebrated the Dec. 7 ruling temporarily postponing the mandate nationwide, 

“Today’s ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia places a nationwide injunction on President Biden’s federal-contractor vaccine mandate and represents the third victory by Alabama and a coalition of states to block enforcement of the President’s tyrannical dictates,” Marshall said in a statement at the time. 

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Marshall hasn’t released a statement on the decision Friday to allow Biden’s mandate to move forward.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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