Biden’s vaccine rules dented in partial win for Brnovich

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services  

A federal judge Thursday blocked the Biden administration from requiring the state or any Arizona company with a federal contract to vaccinate all of its workers against COVID-19. 

In a 55-page ruling, Judge Michael Liburdi rejected claims by the administration that federal procurement laws give Biden broad authority to regulate employment conditions at any company or state agency with which it does business. The government’s lawyers had argued that the president needs to ensure that the work on the federal contracts is performed and not hampered because unvaccinated workers get infected. 

Liburdi scoffed at “the sheer scope of the president’s claimed authority,” saying that buying Biden’s argument would give the president almost unfettered power to interfere with private employment. 

“If, for example, the president determined that obesity, diabetes, and other health issues were linked to the consumption of sugary rinks and fast food, and that such health issues led to absenteeism and a lack of productivity in the workplace, he could, on (the administration’s) reading, issue an executive order requiring all federal contractor employees to refrain from consuming soda or eating fast food,” the judge wrote. “But in reality, the president’s authority under the (procurement) act is not so broad.” 

Liburdi did not dispute that the pandemic will have some impact on federal contracts. But that, he said, does not make the Biden policy lawful. 

He cited rulings by federal judges in other states who have struck down a parallel policy of having the Occupational Safety and Health Administration demand that companies with more than 100 workers get their employees vaccinated to protect their own safety. 


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February 2022