U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove temporarily slapped President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate down for federal contractors located in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Tatenhove said the question was not about the effectiveness of the jab nor if the government can compel people to do something but focused on whether Biden had the authority to require it of federal contractors.
“Can the president use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors? In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no. So, for the reasons that follow, the pending request for a preliminary injunction will be GRANTED,” Tatenhove wrote in his opinion.
The comes after a request from Kentucky Attorney General David Cameron among several other attorneys general asking for a preliminary injunction to the fast-approaching Jan. 4 compliance deadline. Biden first demanded federal contractors get vaccinated by January but Tatenhove’s grant shows the administration that its goal to force shots on millions of working Americans by 2022 won’t come easily.
“Once again, the Court is asked to wrestle with important constitutional values implicated in the midst of a pandemic that lingers. These questions will not be finally resolved in the shadows. Instead, the consideration will continue with the benefit of full briefing and appellate review. But right now, the enforcement of the contract provisions in this case must be paused,” Tatenhove wrote.
The decision comes just one day after the White House directed federal agencies to halt suspending or firing any federal employees over not receiving the COVID-19 jab despite spending months promoting mandates as an urgent, top priority for the Biden administration.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp also temporarily suspended the Biden administration’s vaccine requirements on Monday for federally-funded health care institutions in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The ruling effectively prohibited hospitals and other healthcare entities in those states from getting rid of essential workers who have yet to get the COVID-19 jab.