Appeals Court Blocks Biden’s Federal Employee Shot Mandate

Mar 24, 2023

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the nationwide preliminary injunction yesterday that blocks Biden’s COVID-19 shot mandate that required all federal employees to receive the injection or face termination.
Biden announced September 2021 that more than 3.5 million federal workers were required to undergo vaccination, with no option to get regularly tested instead, unless they secured approved medical or religious exemptions.
Feds for Medical Freedom, which represents more than 700 border patrol agents, pilots, diplomats, firefighters, contractors, and other Americans, filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on December 21, 2021, seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief from “enforcing or implementing the Federal Employee Mandate and the Contractor Mandate.”

In Feds for Medical Freedom v. Biden, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Vincent Brown previously granted a preliminary injunction and wrote that the mandate would pose a substantial threat of irreparable harm over the “liberty interests of employees who must choose between violating a mandate of doubtful validity or consenting to an unwanted medical procedure that cannot be undone.” 

Then a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said that Judge Brown did not have jurisdiction to block the mandate. The appeals court ruled that the parties failed to exhaust administrative remedies because they did not raise their claims through the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. 

The case went to an en banc rehearing, and the full appeals court reversed the ruling by the panel of the same court and rejected the government’s argument that courts do not have jurisdiction over pre-enforcement challenges to Biden’s shot mandate. 

Judge Andrew Oldham wrote the opinion for a 10-member majority in which the Fifth Circuit upheld the preliminary injunction blocking the shot mandate, and now the federal employees’ case will proceed in district court. 

The Appeals Court wrote, “As noted, the panel limited its decision to jurisdiction. Finding that we have jurisdiction, we review the district court’s decision regarding the other factors necessary for a preliminary injunction for abuse of discretion….A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest. The district court carefully considered these factors and wrote a thorough opinion explaining its decision to grant preliminary relief. After carefully considering the district court’s opinion and the Government’s criticisms of it, we are unpersuaded that the district court abused its discretion. And we need not repeat the district court’s reasoning, with which we substantially agree.” 

Liberty Counsel’s case, State Department Employee 1 v. Biden, was stayed by Judge Steven Merryday while Feds for Medical Freedom v. Biden is in litigation. However, this nationwide injunction continues to protect Liberty Counsel’s plaintiffs in that case from being forced to accept a COVID shot that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The unlawful shot mandates of Joe Biden and his administration are being blocked by the federal courts. Biden has no authority to issue shot mandates requiring people to inject their bodies with the COVID shots. It’s encouraging to see the courts realize these mandates are unconstitutional and causing irreparable harm, and thankfully, they are crumbling in the courts.” 

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