A federal judge issued an injunction on Tuesday overturning the Biden administration’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal contractors, saying plaintiffs are “likely [to] successfully argue that the president has overstepped the authority given to him by Congress.
The lawsuit was brought by Attorney General Alan Wilson and Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina, as well as Attorneys General of Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Utah and West Virginia and the governors of Georgia, Alabama and Idaho, as well as other state entities.
The case revolves around the president’s authority under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (Public Procurement Act) and the president’s authority to issue public health warrants. such as the one that President Joe Biden issues in Executive Order (EO) 14042 to require all contractors to be vaccinated on pain of termination.
“The Court recognizes the tragic toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused across the country and the world,” begins Judge Stan Baker. “However, even in times of crisis, this Court must uphold the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the limits of their constitutional powers.”
In addition, writes Baker, the “great interest of the government in combating the spread of [COVID-19]”… does not allow the government to” act illegally, even in the pursuit of desirable ends. “
Citing legal precedents, Baker explains that the government procurement law:
Grants the President particularly direct and extensive authority over broader administrative and managerial matters that involve the government as a whole. And this direct presidential authority should be used in order to achieve a flexible management system capable of making sophisticated judgments in the pursuit of economy and efficiency.
The judge issued a preliminary injunction on the warrant as the trial progressed through the court system, concluding that the president had exceeded his authority to issue such an EO.
The direct impact of OE 14042 goes beyond the administration and management of procurement and contracts; in its practical application (requiring that a significant number of individuals across the country working in a wide range of positions and in many different industries be vaccinated against the serious risk of losing their jobs), it functions as a regulation of the public health.
“It will also have a major impact on the economy as a whole, as it limits the ability of contractors and members of the workforce to perform work on federal contracts,” Baker concluded. “As a result, it appears to have great economic and political importance.”
The judge found that the plaintiffs showed sufficient likelihood that the OE would “produce a huge and transformative expansion of … regulatory authority without clear authorization from Congress,” referring to a Supreme Court requirement that Congress must “speak clearly” when authorizing the exercise of powers of “vast economic and political importance”.
While Baker noted that courts generally accord the president deference in determining his authority under government procurement law, he points out that “deference was expressly not intended to function as “a blank check for the president to fill out as he pleases.” [Emphasis in original].
Baker also pointed out that the Biden administration has neither cited a case that allows the president to “enact such broad and sweeping public health regulation”, nor cited a case in which a court upheld similar action.
Concluding his decision on the merits, Baker explained that if the Biden administration was successful in this matter, it would give the president “the right to impose virtually any type of requirement on companies wishing to contract with the government. “.
“Following the logic and reason of the defendants,” wrote the judge, “the government procurement law would be interpreted as giving the president the right to impose virtually any type of requirement on companies wishing to pass a contract with the government… as long as it determines it could lead to a healthier and therefore more efficient workforce or it could reduce absenteeism.
In a press release regarding Baker’s issuance of the injunction, Wilson said, “The abuse of power by the Biden administration has been stopped again. The rule of law has prevailed and liberty is protected. When the president oversteps his authority, the law is fortunately there to end his abuse of power. “
The case is Georgia v. Biden, No. 1: 21-cv-163 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.
Breccan F. Thiès is a journalist for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.