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Biden asks appeals court to reinstate workplace vaccine mandate

By Simon Druker
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Biden asks appeals court to reinstate workplace vaccine mandate
Protester Kathy Guerra holds a sign reading "No Mandate" as Boeing workers stand across the street from executive offices, objecting to the company rule of a December 8 vaccination mandate for employees in St. Louis on October 20. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 23 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to revive his administration's workplace vaccine mandate, which was blocked earlier this month.

Biden announced in September that the administration was rolling out the rule requiring all private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or weekly testing for the virus. Its formal rollout sparked immediate legal challenges from states, employers, labor unions and religious groups.

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The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit temporarily halted the order, calling it "fatally flawed."

Since that ruling, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been unable to enforce the requirement.

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The decision now rests with the Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which the administration has asked to lift the current court order blocking the mandate. The government has argued not allowing and enforcing the directive would be a "setback to public health."

A Washington, D.C. judicial panel used a lottery to decide which of the nation's 12 regional federal appeals courts would hear arguments on the case. Litigation from numerous legal challenges to the mandate was also merged into a single lawsuit.

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The administration has argued the mandate is critical to boosting nationwide vaccination rates.

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In their filing, government lawyers argued that delaying the vaccine mandate "would endanger many thousands of people and would likely cost many lives per day. With the reopening of workplaces and the emergence of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the threat to workers is ongoing and overwhelming."

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