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Nate Jackson / November 15, 2021

Fifth Circuit Rebukes Biden’s ‘Sledgehammer’ Vax Mandate

Joe Biden himself used to promise there’d be no mandate. Until his poll numbers needed it.

“No, I don’t think it should be mandatory,” said Joe Biden of the COVID-19 vaccine back in December 2020. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki asserted in May: “I wouldn’t anticipate that we would be putting requirements on private-sector companies.” That same month, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, “It may very well be that local businesses, local jurisdictions will work toward vaccine mandates, [but] that is going to be locally driven and not federally driven.” Circling back to Psaki, in July she added: “Can we mandate vaccines across the country? No, that’s not a role that the federal government, I think, even has the power to make.” In August, The All-Knowing Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “You’re not going to see a central mandate coming from the federal government.”

Aiming to do anything to distract from his disaster in Afghanistan, Joe Biden reversed himself in September and went ahead and mandated vaccinations for workers at companies with more than 100 employees. That affects roughly 80 million Americans.

We’re sure it’s totally unrelated that another record 4.4 million people quit their jobs in September after a previous record 4.3 million did so in August.

“Our patience is wearing thin,” President Unity lectured the unvaccinated upon announcing the mandate. The feeling is mutual.

His order was to be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) via an “emergency temporary standard.” Don’t miss the irony of a “temporary” order mandating a (supposedly) permanent vaccine. OSHA also enlisted the help of workplace snitches to help with “compliance assistance.” Beginning January 4, OSHA could fine employers $13,653 per employee who isn’t compliant with the mandate. Never before had OSHA been granted such sweeping authority.

On November 6, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit temporarily blocked Biden’s mandate, agreeing with the first iteration of the Biden administration. On Friday, that panel reaffirmed and added to its rebuke.

OSHA must “take no steps to implement or enforce the Mandate until further court order,” the unanimous judges said. Judge Kurt Engelhardt also wrote, “The Mandate’s true purpose is not to enhance workplace safety, but instead to ramp up vaccine uptake by any means necessary.”

The Biden administration admitted as much by shrugging off the first stay. White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told employers to “continue to move forward and make sure they’re getting their workplace vaccinated.”

The judges ruled the mandate failed three tests: constitutional, statutory, and procedural.

The OSHA rule “likely exceeds the federal government’s authority under the Commerce Clause because it regulates noneconomic inactivity that falls squarely within the States’ police power,” the panel said. “A person’s choice to remain unvaccinated and forgo regular testing is noneconomic inactivity.” Memo to the Supreme Court on ObamaCare.

On the lesser statutory and procedural charges, the court ruled that the mandate “grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority.” Its “attempt to shoehorn an airborne virus … into a neighboring phrase connoting toxicity and poisonousness” is a “transparent stretch.” Likewise, the arbitrary threshold of 100 employees has nothing to do with anything other than those companies might be “better able to administer (and sustain) the Mandate.” Waiving the notice-and-comment phase required for OSHA rules didn’t fly, either.

Engelhardt summed it up by saying, “Rather than a delicately handled scalpel, the Mandate is a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer.”

Suffice it to say that Biden was right the first time: He has no authority or reason for this mandate. It’s a transparently political game meant to distract from his other troubles, though, ironically, it has made him and the vaccine itself less popular. Perhaps he sees that division as a win because only “anti-science right-wingers” don’t want him telling them what to do with their bodies.

In related news, Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee became the latest governor to stand against pandemic mandates. Some 20 states have banned anything like vaccine passports, but Lee’s also includes prohibition against the federal government enforcing the vaccine mandate on private businesses. Lee said, “We had a federal government who required businesses against their will to require their employees against their will to make a personal health decision which is an egregious overreach by the federal government.”

On a final note, the CDC now says that immunity from vaccines might be a bit more consistent than natural immunity in terms of preventing future infection, but that both last at least six months. The CDC is also moving the goalposts once again and now says reaching herd immunity probably isn’t going to happen, regardless of vaccination status. Then why mandate vaccines in the first place?

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