Missouri Attorney General Schmitt leads coalition in filing suit to halt federal vaccine mandate
November 5, 2021- Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt today co-led an eleven-state coalition with Montana, Arizona, and Nebraska in filing a lawsuit against Joe Biden and the Biden Administration to halt their vaccine mandate on private employers with more than 100 employees. Missouri and the coalition of states are the first states to file suit against the vaccine mandate on private employers.
Five private employers joined Missouri’s challenge as well. A Petition for Judicial Review was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit earlier this morning, and a Motion for Stay is expected to be filed soon.
“Today, I led an eleven-state coalition in filing a lawsuit to halt Joe Biden’s unlawful vaccine mandate. The federal government should not be forcing private employers to require their employees to get vaccinated or foot the cost to test those employees weekly,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Local business owners have told me that the vaccine mandate would decimate their businesses, including some that have been around for decades, and they’re certainly not alone – there are thousands of businesses in Missouri alone that could be negatively affected by this mandate. That’s why I’m taking Joe Biden and his administration to court – to protect personal freedoms, preserve Missouri businesses, and push back on bureaucratic tyrants who simply want power and control.”
The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit earlier this morning, challenges the Emergency Temporary Standard propagated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration which requires private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate their employees to get vaccinated or implement weekly testing and mask requirements. Non-compliant businesses could face steep fines.
According to the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, there 3,443 private employers in Missouri with over 100 employees, meaning that roughly 1,289,588 employees could be impacted by this vaccine mandate.
The petition states, “This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise. The federal government lacks constitutional authority under its enumerated powers to issue this mandate, and its attempt to do so unconstitutionally infringes on the States’ powers expressly reserved by the Tenth Amendment. OSHA also lacks statutory authority to issue this mandate, which it shoe-horned into statutes that govern workplace safety, and which were never intended to federalize public-health policy.”
The petition also states, “For over a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that policies on compulsory vaccination lie within the police powers of the States, and that ‘they are matters that do not ordinarily concern the national government.’ Until quite recently, the Biden Administration agreed. The White House stated on July 23 of this year that mandating vaccines is ‘not the role of the federal government.’ But on September 9, 2021, that position underwent a dramatic reversal. The President announced several sweeping vaccine mandates, including a vaccine mandate to be issued by OSHA that applies to all employers who employ more than 100 employees. OSHA published this ‘emergency’ mandate two months later, crafting an elaborate post hoc justification for a policy that the President had already dictated that it would impose.”
The lawsuit is asking the court for an immediate stay pending judicial review.
"Missouri employers object to government mandates that increase costs and make it more difficult to attract and retain workers and this federal mandate does exactly that," said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. "This is not about supporting or opposing vaccines, but rather imposing a government mandate that will force many workers into retirement, onto the unemployment roles, onto public assistance, or force them to take a vaccine they may not want to take. We do not believe that is the government's proper role," said McCarty.
In addition to Missouri, attorneys general from Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Wyoming also joined the lawsuit.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office previously filed suit to halt the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and federally contracted employees: https://www.ago.mo.gov/home/news/2021/10/29/missouri-attorney-general-leads-10-state-coalition-in-filing-suit-to-halt-vaccine-mandate-for-federal-contractors
The full petition can be found here: