Eleven US states have formed a coalition to file a lawsuit against President Joe Biden and his administration to halt the COVID-19 vaccine mandate on private employers with more than 100 personnel, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said on Friday.
The mandate, which was announced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Thursday, requires companies with 100 or more employees to require COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing and workplace masking by January 4.
“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,” Schmitt said in a statement.
Along with Missouri, the attorneys general from Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Wyoming also joined the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, marks the latest legal challenge attempting to halt the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. The state of Texas sued the Biden administration individually last Friday. Another group of states including Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia have filed a lawsuit in Georgia.
Schmitt said five private employers in Missouri had also joined their lawsuit. A Petition for Judicial Review was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit earlier on Friday, and a Motion for Stay is expected to be filed soon.
“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,” Schmitt said.
He denounced the vaccine mandate as an attempt by “bureaucratic tyrants” to expand their power and control over citizens.
Some experts have asserted that OSHA’s rule is neither legal nor enforceable. Industrial hygienist Kristen Meghan has said OSHA’s claims that a vaccine is a control, which falls under its hierarchy of controls, is not accurate and neither is OSHA’s potential attempt to present the vaccines under the elimination aspect of the hierarchy when the vaccines do not eliminate COVID-19.
The new mandates announced on Thursday also include a requirement that all health care workers in facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid must be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022.