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Government contractors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Indiana can’t be forced to comply with the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, according to a recent federal court ruling.

The three states alleged that the president overreached his authority by issuing the order, while the government argued that he had broad statutory authority to issue policies that “provide the Federal Government with an economical and efficient system” of contractor operations under the Procurement Act. The states countered that limits need to be applied to the principle. 

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2–1 to uphold a U.S. district court’s decision to block the September 2021 mandate, agreeing that the government’s “closed nexus” unlawfully gives the president “nearly unlimited authority” to impose requirements on federal contractors. Further, the court rejected the idea that force majeure under COVID-19 provided the president with special powers to levy what would otherwise be unlawful orders.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice James Graves said the vaccine mandate is “in the mainstream” of what American businesses are doing in response to the pandemic.


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