November 12, 2021 (Anchorage) – Today, Governor Mike Dunleavy commended the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on its decision to halt the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more workers. The court on Saturday had issued a temporary stay, pending its deliberations this week.
“For a federal court of appeals to stop a government action from proceeding tells Americans all they need to know about the ramifications of President Biden’s aggressiveness toward citizens,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Make no mistake, this issue will go to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, Alaskans can know there is some constraint against rampant overreach into their work and lives.”
Earlier this fall, President Joe Biden announced that the vaccine mandate would be issued through the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal regulator for workplace conditions. The proposed mandate was published in the Federal Register last week, prompting the court challenge. The 5th Circuit’s decision halting the mandate applies nationwide. OSHA is now barred from taking additional steps until the federal courts issue a new order.
While not deciding on the merits of mandating vaccines, in its decision the 5th Circuit took the Biden Administration to task over blatant misuse of the regulatory powers of federal agencies: “Whether Congress could enact such a sweeping mandate under its interstate commerce power would pose a hard question … Whether OSHA can do so does not.”
The state of Alaska has filed a similar federal lawsuit in a different circuit, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, to block the implementation of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on private employers and states like Alaska that have a state Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plan.
Read the 5th Circuit decision here.