Bloomberg Law
Oct. 22, 2021, 9:23 PM

Arizona AG Expands Legal Challenge to Biden Vaccine Mandates

Robert Iafolla
Robert Iafolla

Arizona’s Republican attorney general expanded his legal challenge to the Biden administration’s new Covid-19 vaccine requirements, both sharpening and broadening his allegations in an amended complaint filed Friday.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who’s running for U.S. Senate in 2022, seeks a court order to block the administration’s vaccine mandates for federal employees and federal contractors. He also targets the administration’s immigration policies in the 54-page lawsuit—more than triple the length of the “first salvo” complaint filed in Arizona federal court last month.

Brnovich’s amended complaint claims that the President Joe Biden lacks the authority to require vaccinations and that those mandates violate the U.S. Constitution. It also asserts that the mandates run afoul of the right to refuse vaccines approved for emergency use, an argument that has failed thus far and that some legal observers say was weakened by one vaccine receiving full approval.

“Once a vaccine has been administered, it can never be undone,” Brnovich said in a release. “The COVID-19 vaccine mandate is one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberty, federalism, and the separation of powers by any administration in our country’s history.”

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment.

Brnovich’s amended complaint builds on the alleged connection between immigration policies and vaccine mandates from his initial filing. He alleges the Biden administration is discriminating against citizens and immigrants with work visas because undocumented immigrants aren’t required to get inoculated.

Citing a “crisis at the southern border,” the Arizona Republican asked the court to block the administration from releasing immigrants that should be in mandatory detention, paroling immigrants without engaging in case-by-case adjudication, and not trying to deport “plainly inadmissible” immigrants who are released into the country.

The lawsuit doesn’t target the pending emergency rule to require large employers to either mandate employee vaccination or regular testing, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is developing.

Brnovich acknowledged last month that his challenge to the Biden administration’s vaccine requirements is a “long shot,” but said it’s worth “fighting for.”

The case is Brnovich v. Biden, D. Ariz., No. 21-01568, amended complaint filed 10/22/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Iafolla in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at; Andrew Harris at