Appeals Court Rules Against Vaccine Mandates in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Thursday affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the vaccine mandate for federal contract workers is unconstitutional.

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The majority opinion stated that a broad interpretation of the mandate could provide the president “nearly unlimited authority to introduce requirements into federal contracts.”

The court said Biden wanted it “to ratify an exercise of proprietary authority that would permit him to unilaterally impose a healthcare decision on one-fifth of all employees in the United States. We decline to do so.”

Judge Kurt Engelhardt, writing for the majority, demonstrated the fallacy of the government’s case by adding, that”hypothetically, the president could mandate that all employees of federal contractors reduce their BMI [body mass index] below a certain number on the theory that obesity is a primary contributor to unhealthiness and absenteeism.”

The courts have largely upheld the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, but for all other Americans — including the OSHA “vaccine or test” mandate — all courts so far have ruled the Biden administration overstepped its authority.

Judge James Graves’ dissent noted this was the first executive order under the Procurement Act to be struck down.

“When actions taken are in the mainstream of American businesses, that points towards permitting the executive order,” he wrote. “Economic factors would prevent the president from handicapping the contractor workforce with extreme contractual terms.”

Graves disputed the BMI comparison, saying if a president sought to impose “draconian measures outside the mainstream of American companies, he or she would hear from the people or from Congress.”

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Judge Graves is correct. The president would certainly “hear from the people or from Congress” if they tried to impose a silly mandate like a maximum Body Mass Index.

Related: A Terrible Thought Concerning the Vaccines: A Ticking Time Bomb?

But what power would prevent the president from imposing it anyway? What if the president believes so strongly that placing limits on BMI would save lives no matter how unpopular it is? Who would stop him? Only Congress could do that. And that’s no guarantee that anything would get done.

The Justice Department said in its earlier filing that “requiring entities that enter into federal contracts to have a vaccinated workforce enhances the efficiency of federal contractor operations.”

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in August upheld a separate lower court order banning enforcement of the contractor vaccine mandate but lifted a nationwide injunction and said its ruling only applied in seven states that filed suit and to members of the Associated Builders and Contractors.

The White House is not enforcing the OSHA mandate or the federal contractor mandate anyway. And Congress just ended the mandate that all U.S. military personnel be vaccinated. This successful fight against a coercive, oppressive government policy is a rare victory for individual liberty in an age that has seen government power grow at the expense of individual liberty.

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