Texas to challenge constitutionality of Biden administration's new Covid vaccine mandate in lawsuit

On Friday, Texas sued the Biden administration over the mandate to administer Covid vaccine for private companies. Texas argued that the federal requirements are not constitutional.
The petition was filed by Ken Paxton, the State Attorney General, challenging the validity of the administration’s mandate. Paxton stated that he would file a motion to stop the mandate.

Paxton called the mandate for vaccines "a stunning abuse of federal power" and said it was "flatly unconstitutional." Paxton argued that the mandate is beyond the "limited power and responsibilities" of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (which announced the new workplace regulations earlier in the week).

In addition to many companies, the petition was signed by the attorney generals of Louisiana and Mississippi, South Carolina, South Carolina, and Utah.

OSHA, the Labor Department's safety officer, created the vaccine mandate under an emergency authority. This allows OSHA to speed up the process of issuing new worker safety standards.

OSHA has the power to use its emergency authority when the Labor secretary determines that workers are in grave danger due to a new hazard and that an emergency standard is required to protect them.

Seema Nanda, Labor Department Solicitor, stated that a virus that has claimed the lives of more than 750,000 Americans and is causing more than 70,000 cases each day is a serious health risk that presents a danger to workers during a Thursday press conference.

Biden's administration claims that its vaccine mandate will replace any state laws that would prevent companies from complying with the federal requirements.

Nanda stated that the national mandate preempts state laws regarding Covid-19 vaccinations, testing, and masks unless they are part of a federally-approved worker safety plan that is at least as effective than the federal requirements.

"The question we have always asked and that we continue to ask the Republicans is: Why do they get in our way?" They are preventing us from trying to save and protect lives. "That's all that we're trying do," White House Deputy Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated to reporters on Thursday.

After publication in Federal Register, Friday saw the effective date of the vaccine mandate for businesses employing 100 or more people.

Businesses must ensure that their employees receive their vaccine shots no later than January 4, and submit a negative Covid test no less than once per week. By Dec. 5, unvaccinated workers must wear masks indoors. These mandates apply to 84 million employees in the private sector.

Texas Governor. Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning vaccine mandates last month. Abbott had requested that the state legislature replace his order by a law. However, the legislation was rejected by several business groups.

Abbott's executive order of May also prohibited local governments from requiring masks to be worn by people. Abbott was sued by several school districts over this order.

In September, Paxton and almost all other Republican attorneys general threatened to use every legal option to stop the mandate. This threat was made in a letter to President Joe Biden.

Republicans and industry lobbyists argue that Covid's current threat is not as grave as the Biden administration claims. They point out the increasing level of vaccination in the U.S. and natural immunity to previous infections, as well as mitigation actions already taken by many companies at work.