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Okla. attorney general challenges OSHA's authority to issue vaccine mandate

Posted at 10:43 AM, Nov 05, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY — Attorney General John O’Connor joins other attorneys general by filing a petition before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit challenging the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for private-sector employees.

The petition asks the court to review the emergency temporary standard issued by the Biden Administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Thursday, which requires the vaccination of tens of millions of citizens by Jan. 4.

“In Oklahoma, President Biden will not determine how an individual makes healthcare decisions for themselves and their families,” General O’Connor said. “The Biden Administration continuously uses federal overreach to strip away Americans’ constitutional rights and I will continue to defend the rule of law against this absurd abuse of power.”

In their petition, O'Connor and six other state attorneys general challenge the legality of the Biden Administration’s mandate and ask the Sixth Circuit to review the validity of it, arguing that OSHA lacks statutory and constitutional authority to issue such standard.

The coalition is also arguing that the power to issue emergency temporary standards was delegated to OSHA by Congress. However, they are saying their authority does not extend to risks that are equally prevalent at work and in society at large.

They mention how OSHA refused to issue a nationwide emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 because "COVID-19 is a community-wide hazard that is not unique to the workplace" as one of their examples.

The coalition remarks that the vaccine mandate prohibits states from enacting and enforcing their own policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA’s mandate takes away that power from the states and prevents policymakers from enacting policies that are beneficial to their respective states.

The attorneys general is asking the court to halt President Biden’s vaccine mandate until the court rules on the legitimacy of the rule.

“We are thankful for the support of the legislature to bring this lawsuit on behalf of the State and the governor,” General O’Connor said. “With their support, we can protect hardworking Oklahomans from this reckless and unconstitutional federal overreach.”

Attorney General O’Connor joined the lawsuit alongside attorneys general from Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

View a copy of the filing here.

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