ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona joins 10 other states in lawsuit against Biden’s vaccine policy

Nov 5, 2021, 9:44 AM
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Arizona joined a coalition that includes 10 other states Friday in filing a federal lawsuit challenging President Joe Biden’s new COVID-19 vaccination policy.

The lawsuit was filed after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, under Biden’s direction, finalized rules saying all companies with more than 100 employees must require unvaccinated workers to take weekly tests and wear face masks.

The OSHA mandate goes into effect Jan. 4. Failure to comply could result in penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation.

The petitioners argue that the policy is an overstep of authority on a matter that should be left up to individual states.

“The federal government lacks constitutional authority under its enumerated powers to issue this mandate, and its attempt to do so unconstitutionally infringes on the States’ powers expressly reserved by the Tenth Amendment,” the lawsuit says.

The top legal official for the U.S. Department of Labor, which includes OSHA, has said legal precedent allows it to issue rules that keep workplaces safe and that those rules pre-empt state laws.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich joined his colleagues in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming in filing the suit in the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Today is the first step in stopping the Biden Administration’s misguided COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees of small businesses,” Brnovich said in a press release Friday.

“I am urging the court to move expeditiously to defend the fundamental rights of all Americans.”

AAI Inc., Doolittle Trailer Mfg. Inc., Christian Employers Alliance, Sioux Falls Catholic Schools (which does business as Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools) and Home School Legal Defense Association Inc. are also listed as petitioners on the complaint.

This is Brnovich’s second lawsuit against the federal vaccine plan since Biden previewed it two months ago, touting it as the fastest way to emerge from a pandemic that’s killed more than 750 million Americans.

Five days after Biden’s Sept. 9 announcement, Brnovich filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the policy, even though the specifics of the plan hadn’t yet been created.

“Our lawsuit right here is the first salvo in pushing back against the federal government’s vaccine mandates, but it will not be the last,” the Republican attorney general, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in 2022, said at the time.

On Oct. 22, Brnovich filed a request for a temporary restraining order and an amended complaint expanding his legal argument in the initial lawsuit.

Brnovich’s office said a hearing on the restraining order is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona joins 10 other states in lawsuit against Biden’s vaccine policy