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Ten GOP-Led States Sue Biden Over Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate (3)

Oct. 29, 2021, 4:42 PMUpdated: Oct. 29, 2021, 8:12 PM

Missouri and nine other states on Friday became the latest to join a Republican-led effort to sue the Biden administration over vaccine mandates.

The complaint filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R), Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson (R), and the other states’ attorneys general asks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to block mandated Covid-19 vaccines for all employees of federal contractors.

The Biden administration doesn’t have the authority to require the vaccines, the states say.

“President Biden has arrogated to the Executive Branch the unilateral power to mandate that all employees of federal contractors be vaccinated,” the complaint said. “This power grab is sweeping in its scope.”

One-fifth of the total U.S. workforce are federal contractors, according to the complaint. The mandate will apply even to employees whose work isn’t related to a federal contract or who work from home, it says.

The mandate is “unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise,” the complaint says.

It harms the states by affecting state agencies that are federal contractors, preempting state public health orders, and—in those states with constitutional protections for them—violating privacy rights, it says.

“This is a once in a generation pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 700,000 Americans, and the president has committed to pulling every lever possible to save lives and stop the spread of the virus,” an Office of Management and Budget spokesperson told Bloomberg Law in reply to a request for comment.

“Vaccine requirements work: they’re good for workers, good for the economy, and good for the country,” the spokesperson said, adding that President Joe Biden “has authority to promote efficiency in federal contracting in this way.”

VIDEO: President Biden’s vaccine mandate rule for companies, the likely legal challenges and what to expect next.

Missouri also will sue to halt the employer vaccine mandate when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration publishes its upcoming rule, Schmitt hinted in an Oct. 27 press release.

So far, Arizona and Florida have sued the administration to stop the mandates. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey indicated in an Oct. 25 executive order that her state also will sue.

Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming also signed on to Missouri’s complaint.

Causes of Action: Procurement Act, Procurement Policy Act, Tenth Amendment, anti-commandeering doctrine, Administrative Procedure Act, separation of powers doctrine, and the spending clause.

Relief: Declare guidance and executive order unconstitutional; declare mandate violates procurement laws and was adopted in violation of APA; and block enforcement of vaccine and masking mandates.

Response: The White House didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.

Attorneys: The various attorneys general represent the states.

The case is Missouri v. Biden, E.D. Mo., No. 4:21-cv-1300, complaint filed 10/29/21.

(Updated to add agency comments beginning in eighth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Anne Pazanowski in Washington at mpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com