Federal judge halts vaccine mandate for federal contractors, subcontractors in Ohio

A federal judge in Kentucky is prohibiting the federal government from enforcing the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in Ohio and two other states, according to a preliminary injunction issued in U.S. District Court.

“This is not a case about whether vaccines are effective. They are. Nor is this a case about whether the government, at some level, and in some circumstances, can require citizens to obtain vaccines. It can,” Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove said in his order filed Tuesday.

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“The question presented here is narrow. Can the president use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors?” Van Tatenhove said. “In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no. So, for the reasons that follow, the pending request for a preliminary injunction will be granted.”

The injunction covers federal contractors and subcontractors in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The previous guidance that was issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force after President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14042 in September would have required all covered contractors to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18, 2022.

“This is not about vaccines, it’s about the mandates,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “The judge’s opinion clearly states that and it has been our position all along that the president cannot impose these mandates on the people.”

Governor Mike DeWine also made a statement regarding the court’s decision saying “The courts have put the Biden Administration on hold in two vaccine mandate cases. Vaccines should be a personal choice, not a government mandate.”

According to court records, federal contracting is a multi-billion-dollar industry in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In his order, the judge also wrote about is concerns “that the vaccine mandate intrudes on an area that is traditionally reserved to the States.”

“This principle, which is enshrined in the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, states that the “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” Van Tatenhove said.

The court’s decision only applies to Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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