A federal judge in Georgia has recently imposed a nationwide injunction on the federal contractor vaccine mandate. This will likely be appealed, but for now, here are the key points from the decision.
The judge looked closely at what law allowed the president to impose this mandate. Specifically, the the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (the Procurement Act). The judge concluded that this law does not give the president the authority to impose the vaccine mandate. The order states: “While the Procurement Act explicitly and unquestionably bestows some authority upon the President, the Court is unconvinced, at this stage of the litigation, that it authorized him to direct the type of actions by agencies that are contained in [the vaccine mandate].”
The judge went further:
Additionally, the direct impact of EO 14042 goes beyond the administration and management of procurement and contracting; in its practical application (requiring a significant number of individuals across the country working in a broad range of positions and in numerous different industries to be vaccinated or face a serious risk of losing their job), it operates as a regulation of public health. It will also have a major impact on the economy at large, as it limits contractors’ and members of the workforce’s ability to perform work on federal contracts. Accordingly, it appears to have vast economic and political significance.
The judge noted that the vaccine mandate “goes far beyond addressing administrative and management issues in order to promote efficiency and economy in procurement and contracting, and instead, in application, works as a regulation of public health, which is not clearly authorized under the Procurement Act.”
The court noted that the plaintiffs include industry groups with nationwide membership, so a nationwide mandate is needed. We at SmallGovCon will stay tuned to see if this issue is revisited by higher courts on appeal. But for now, the injunction appears to bar the federal government from enforcing the mandate.
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