cloudyn.png
Tuesday January 31st, 2023 6:32PM

Court rehears fight over vaccine mandate for federal workers

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — President Joe Biden has the same authority to impose a COVID-19 vaccine requirement on federal workers that private employers have for their employees, an administration lawyer told a federal appeals court Tuesday.

A lawyer for opponents of the vaccine requirement, which has been blocked nationwide by a federal judge in Texas, said the requirement imposes an “unconstitutionally intolerable choice” for executive branch workers — taking a vaccine they don't want or losing their jobs.

Judges on the appeals court meanwhile questioned how far the chief executive's authority goes, asking, theoretically, whether the president could require employees to meet certain healthy body weights or forbid them from smoking at home.

It was the second time arguments on the issue were heard before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel of the same court had upheld the Biden requirement for executive branch workers, overturning the Texas judge.

But the full appeals court, currently with 16 active members, vacated the panel ruling and agreed to rehear the case. There was no indication when the court would rule.

Administration lawyers argue that the employees opposing the mandate should have taken their objections not to federal court but to a federal review board, in accordance with the Civil Service Reform Act. The administration also argues that the president has the same authority, under the Constitution, as the CEO of a private corporation to require that employees be vaccinated.

Arguing for the government, Charles Scarborough of the Department of Justice, said the statute provides employees with “robust” remedies if they successfully challenge the requirement through the review board, including back pay if they are dismissed for not complying.

Addressing whether the president could impose body weight requirements on federal employees, Scarborough said the vaccine requirement is part of a mainstream effort to reduce the incidence of serious COVID-19 cases in the workplace, while a body weight requirement would be among “hypotheticals at the extremes.”

Opponents say the policy is an encroachment on federal workers' lives that neither the Constitution nor federal statutes authorize. And they argued that a case involving a policy that could cost some workers their jobs if they don't agree to a medical procedure is not the type of work policy that belongs before a civil service review board.

Biden issued an executive order Sept. 9 ordering vaccinations for all executive branch agency employees, with exceptions for medical and religious reasons. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown, who was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of Texas by then-President Donald Trump, issued a nationwide injunction against the requirement in January.

There came a series of varying rulings at the 5th Circuit.

One three-judge panel refused to immediately block the law.

But, a 2-1 ruling on the merits of the case by a different panel upheld Biden's position. Judges Carl Stewart and James Dennis, both nominated to the court by President Bill Clinton, were in the majority. Judge Rhesa Barksdale, a senior judge nominated by President George H.W. Bush, dissented, saying the relief the challengers sought does not fall under the Civil Service Reform Act cited by the administration.

A majority of the full court voted to vacate that ruling and reconsider the case, resulting in Tuesday's hearing.

Twelve of 16 active judges at the 5th Circuit were nominated to the court by Republicans, including six Trump appointees. Senior judges do not routinely take part in full-court hearings but Barksdale participated in the hearing Tuesday because he had been on the earlier panel.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online President, White House, advisers News, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
R. Kelly lawyer: Prosecution case relies on ‘perjurers’
R. Kelly’s lead attorney has told jurors that federal prosecutors’ case accusing the singer of producing child pornography, enticing minors for sex and rigging his 2008 child porn trial largely rests on the testimony of perjurers and blackmailers
12:25PM ( 4 minutes ago )
BRELAND, king of collabs, invents the sound of cross country
BRELAND, a 27-year-old Jersey native, has taken over as the king of country collabs in Nashville, building his brand of cross country
12:20PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Ukraine piles pressure on retreating Russian troops
Ukrainian troops are piling pressure on retreating Russian forces, pressing a counteroffensive that has produced major gains and a stunning blow to Moscow’s military prestige
12:18PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Panel: Archives still not certain it has all Trump records
A congressional oversight committee has requested an assessment from the National Archives on whether presidential records removed by former President Donald Trump remain unaccounted for and potentially in his possession
11:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
'A seat at the table': Peltola to be sworn in to Congress
Mary Peltola will be making history when she's sworn in as the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress
10:59AM ( 1 hour ago )
Midterm primaries wrap up with fresh test of GOP's future
A staunchly conservative, retired Army general is favored to win New Hampshire’s Republican Senate nomination and face potentially vulnerable Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan
10:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Loss of unifying queen could fray the bonds of fractious UK
Queen Elizabeth II has been likened to the invisible glue holding the United Kingdom together
10:24AM ( 1 day ago )
EU nations struggle to find joint approach on energy prices
European Union nations are struggling to find full consensus on ways to shield the population from increasing energy prices that threaten to plunge millions into cold and poverty over the winter as Russia chokes off natural gas supplies
12:05PM ( 4 days ago )
What to watch in Massachusetts' primary election
Republicans hoping to hold on to the Massachusetts governor’s office are choosing between a Donald Trump-backed candidate and a moderate businessman in Tuesday’s primary election
12:10AM ( 1 week ago )
AP Online President, White House, advisers News
Tentative deal reached to end Seattle teachers strike
Seattle Public Schools says it has reached a tentative agreement with the union for teachers who went on strike last week over issues like pay and classroom support
6:48AM ( 5 hours ago )
US leaders avoid victory dance in Ukraine combat advances
U.S. leaders from President Joe Biden on down are being careful not to declare a premature victory after a Ukrainian offensive forced Russian troops into a messy retreat in the north
6:06AM ( 6 hours ago )
Lawmakers in Australian state pledge allegiance to king
Lawmakers in an Australian state have pledged their allegiance to King Charles III with some using the occasion to call for an Australian republic
3:07AM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Justice Dept. OK with 1 Trump pick for Mar-a-Lago arbiter
The Justice Department says it's willing to accept one of Donald Trump’s picks for an independent arbiter to review documents seized during an FBI search of the former president’s Florida home last month
10:54PM ( 13 hours ago )
Justice Kagan cautions Supreme Court can forfeit legitimacy
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is cautioning that courts look political and forfeit legitimacy when they needlessly overturn precedent and decide more than they have to
9:15PM ( 15 hours ago )
Trump team dismisses records probe, opposes arbiter picks
Donald Trump’s lawyers are dismissing the former president’s retention of top-secret documents at his Florida home as a “storage dispute.”
7:23PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
German man convicted of murder after killing over mask rules
A German man has been convicted of murder and given a life sentence for fatally shooting a young gas station clerk following a dispute over face masks
9:01AM ( 3 hours ago )
France to open debate meant to broaden end-of-life options
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a national debate meant to broaden end-of-life options
6:50AM ( 5 hours ago )
Monkeypox death confirmed by LA County health officials
A hospitalized Los Angeles County resident with a compromised immune system has died from monkeypox
10:22PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Health
Alex Jones faces second trial over Sandy Hook hoax claims
A Connecticut jury has begun hearing arguments about how much money conspiracy theorist Alex Jones should pay relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting for calling the massacre a hoax
11:34AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Stocks tumble after inflation stays hotter than expected
Stocks are tumbling and disappointment is hitting markets worldwide, following Wall Street’s sudden realization that inflation isn’t slowing as much as hoped
10:43AM ( 1 hour ago )
Broadway theater renamed in honor of James Earl Jones
The newly restored Cort Theatre on Broadway has been renamed after James Earl Jones, becoming the second theater on the Great White Way named after a Black artist
9:48AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
In parts of Mideast, power generators spew toxic fumes 24/7
They literally run the country
9:35PM ( 14 hours ago )
Work at Stellantis plant to resume after deal with UAW
United Auto Workers union members who went on strike Saturday at a Stellantis casting plant in Indiana are returning to work after ratifying a deal with the company
8:20PM ( 16 hours ago )
US, Mexico to cooperate on semiconductors, electric vehicles
A high-level United States delegation invited Mexico to participate in a push to shift semiconductor production from Asia to North America and expand production of electric vehicles
8:10PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Ukraine piles pressure on retreating Russian troops
Ukrainian troops are piling pressure on retreating Russian forces, pressing a counteroffensive that has produced major gains and a stunning blow to Moscow’s military prestige
12:18PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Queen's coffin leaves Edinburgh cathedral for London
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II has left St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh to begin her final journey through Scotland to a Royal Air Force plane that will carry her back to London
12:13PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Stocks tumble on dashed inflation hopes; S&P 500 loses 3%
Stocks are tumbling and disappointment is hitting markets worldwide, following Wall Street’s sudden realization that inflation isn’t slowing as much as hoped
12:03PM ( 29 minutes ago )
France to open debate on legalizing assisted suicide
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a national debate meant to broaden end-of-life options
11:58AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Hearing reset for official jailed in Vegas reporter slaying
A judge has postponed the arraignment of an elected official accused in the stabbing death of a Las Vegas investigative reporter who was attacked outside his home
11:58AM ( 34 minutes ago )