D.C. lottery to decide which court will rule on Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate

D.C. lottery to decide which court will rule on Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate
President Joe Biden's rule says larger businesses must have their employees vaccinated by January 4, or submit to regular testing. The rule affects about 84 million workers. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- A top judicial panel is expected to stage a lottery on Tuesday to decide which federal court will ultimately decide all the legal challenges to one of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The little-known procedure, which is typically used for product liability cases, will determine in which court the challenges to Biden's mandate -- which requires vaccination at companies with over 100 employees -- will be heard.


The panel is using the lottery to centralize the challenges. More than a dozen Republican-led states and industry groups have filed objections to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule, which says the larger businesses must have their employees vaccinated by Jan. 4, or submit to regular testing.

It's estimated that about 84 million workers are affected by the requirement.

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Some labor unions have also filed legal challenges in support of the rule, and some contend that the president's mandate doesn't go far enough to protect workers from the virus.

Workers protest a coronavirus vaccination requirement at aviation company Boeing, on a street in St. Louis, Mo, on October 20. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Under federal law, each U.S. Circuit Court that's received a case will get one entry in the lottery. The entries will be placed in a drum, and a clerk at the Washington, D.C., Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will randomly draw one.


Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts appointed the members of the panel, which is comprised of several federal judges from different circuits.

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Proponents on both sides of the issue are hoping that a court friendly to their ideologies gets to decide the matter.

"While the Republican-led states have filed in courts with a majority of judges appointed by a Republican president, the unions are targeting courts with a majority -- or near majority -- of judges appointed by a Democratic President," attorney Sean Marotta told CNN.

"The mandate's fate could depend on which court is picked in the lottery."

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Republicans are hoping the cases fall in a conservative-leaning court like the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which extended an injunction against enforcing the vaccine mandate while the matter makes its way through the courts.

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