By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming has joined a coalition of other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s decision allowing a federal vaccine mandate for companies employing more than 100 people to take effect.
Gov. Mark Gordon announced Monday that as its latest move to battle the mandate, Wyoming joined 26 other states in filing an emergency application for an administrative stay of the decision of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November issued a stay to block the Occupational Health and Safety Administration from drafting rules to enforce the vaccine mandate proposed by President Joe Biden. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week overturned that decision, allowing OSHA to proceed with the rules. The decision would be in place until the 6th Circuit Court completed its review of the full lawsuit challenging the mandate.
In its appeal, the coalition asked the court to reinstate the nationwide stay of the vaccine mandate issued by the 5th Circuit Court. It also asked the Supreme Court to settle look at the entire case instead of allowing to to be decided by the 6th Circuit Court.
“While we are disappointed with the decision of the 6th Circuit’s panel, we immediately requested that the Supreme Court halt this mandate and hear this case,” Gordon said. “This overreaching rule exceeds OSHA’s authority and threatens the rights of Wyoming citizens and her industries.”
President Joe Biden earlier this year announced his plan to require vaccinations for federal employees, health care workers and workers at companies that employ more than 100.
Wyoming, along with other states, has challenged all three pieces of the proposed mandate. The mandate for health care workers was overturned in the states that filed challenges, but allowed to take effect in other states. The Department of Justice has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the mandate nationally.
The mandate for federal contractors was blocked earlier in December by a federal appeals court in Georgia.
In their challenge of the mandate on companies employing more than 100, Wyoming and the other states argued that the federal government has no authority to dictate health care measures to private companies and individuals.
Last week, Gordon joined four other Republican governors in challenging the federal government’s ability to enforce a vaccine mandate on National Guard members.
In the letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, the governors argued that disciplinary directives to National Guard members serving in a state capacity “are beyond (the Secretary’s) constitutional and statutory authority.”
Last month, Gordon signed HB1002, which prohibits state and local public entities from enforcing a federal mandate. However, it would not take effect until a federal court, in response to legal action, blocks the mandate.