MADISON — The Biden administration could release a rule on its COVID-19 vaccine mandate as soon as this week. Expect immediate lawsuits challenging the executive branch power grab, including one from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL).
Sources say the Milwaukee-based civil rights law firm is representing several Wisconsin employers in looming lawsuits against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. WILL’s lawsuit is expected to drop as soon as OSHA publishes the rule, which will put into effect the mandate.
President Joe Biden in September announced the edict, which requires employees at businesses with a workforce of 100 or more to get the COVID-19 shot. The mandate is expected to cover around two-thirds of private sector employees. Millions more people who work for federal contractors are required to get the shot, too.
A U.S. Labor Department official on Monday told reporters companies must develop and enforce a mandatory Covid vaccination policy unless they create a plan that gives workers the option to get tested regularly and requires them to wear a mask at work.
WILL’s looming lawsuit isn’t about vaccines, sources tell Empower Wisconsin. It’s the means by which the Biden administration is carrying out health policy. In short, you can’t do it through decree, or an OSHA rule.
It sets a very dangerous precedent.
“It’s hard to imagine what such a mechanism couldn’t be used for moving forward,” a source with knowledge of the lawsuit tells Empower Wisconsin.
Last week, 19 states filed three separate lawsuits to stop Biden carrying out the mandate for federal contractors. They argue it’s an overreach of federal power.
“If the federal government attempts to unconstitutionally exert its will and force federal contractors to mandate vaccinations, the workforce and businesses could be decimated, further exacerbating the supply chain and workforce crises,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, said in a statement. “The federal government should not be mandating vaccinations, and that’s why we filed suit today – to halt this illegal, unconstitutional action.”
New Hampshire’s Republican Attorney General John Formella said in a statement that COVID vaccines are safe, effective, and encouraged but that the benefits “do not justify violating the law.”
Contractors have been given fairly wide latitude in deciding how to enforce the mandate.
Legal sources say lawsuits like WILL’s may stand a better chance at success in courts because plaintiffs are employers rather than states. Employers are more directly impacted by the mandates, and would have standing in the lawsuits.