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Biden Contractor Vaccine Mandate Hit With Third Court Block (1)

Dec. 16, 2021, 3:18 PMUpdated: Dec. 16, 2021, 5:04 PM

President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors should be paused for state employers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Indiana that have agreements with the federal government, a U.S. judge in Louisiana ruled Thursday, adding to a string of court losses for the administration.

The three states sought to block the mandate for companies that do business with the federal government, and U.S. District Court Judge Dee D. Drell granted the limited preliminary injunction. Drell declined to extend his order to private businesses with federal contracts, stating that the lawsuit lacked that type of plaintiff.

It follows a nationwide injunction granted by a Georgia-based federal court, and another block from a federal judge in Kentucky for contractors in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. The U.S. government appealed the nationwide injunction.

Other Biden administration efforts to boost Covid-19 inoculation rates have similarly met legal roadblocks, including an Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency shot-or-test rule for large employers and a vaccine mandate for health-care workers.

The federal contractor mandate—which won’t be enforced while litigation proceeds—would apply to roughly a quarter of the U.S. workforce, and affect businesses including Lockheed Martin Corp., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.‘s Google, and General Motors Co.

Although Drell’s order Thursday was more limited than previous injunctions, it did cite the Kentucky federal court’s order to reiterate that the decision didn’t answer the question about whether vaccines are effective tools to combat the virus.

Rather, he said these lawsuits challenge the president’s authority to issue such demands through executive actions on contracts.

The case is Louisiana v. Biden, W.D. La., No. 21-cv-03867, order 12/16/21.

(Updated with additional reporting throughout. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Erin Mulvaney in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at