Two dozen Republican state attorneys general are threatening to take legal action against the Biden administration over its sweeping vaccine requirements on private sector businesses, vowing to “seek every available legal option” to hold the president accountable and “uphold the rule of law.”
“We, the Attorney General of 24 states, write in opposition to your attempt to mandate the vaccination of private citizens,” the officials wrote in a letter to Biden, referencing his September 9 announcement ordering the Department of Labor to issue an emergency temporary standard under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act to mandate the private sector employers of businesses over 100 employees to either mandate the coronavirus shot or enforce weekly testing.
Calling the plan “dangerous and counterproductive,” the officials said it will “simply drive further skepticism” rather than changing minds on the vaccine. They also warned that many Americans will simply quit their jobs, putting additional strain on the “already-too-tight” labor market.
“Worse still, many of those who decide to leave their jobs rather than follow your directive will be essential healthcare workers,” they warned. “This is no idle speculation.”
The officials told the president that his mandate is “not only a threat to individual liberty, but a public health disaster that will displace vulnerable workers and exacerbate a nationwide hospital staffing crisis, with severe consequences for all Americans.”
Further, the attorneys general pointed to another key flaw in Biden’s mandate: It does not account for natural immunity. They referenced May CDC figures estimating that over 120 million Americans have already been infected with the virus.
“A one-size-fits-all policy is not reasoned decision-making,” they wrote. “It is power for power’s sake.”
The officials also asserted that Biden’s action is illegal in nature:
You propose to enforce your mandates through the rarely used emergency temporary standard provision in the OSH Act. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Department has attempted to adopt an emergency temporary standard only on other time since 1983 (and that one exception came in June of this year and is being challenged.) An emergency temporary standard does to have to go through notice and comment and can be made effective immediately upon publication. Because of this lack of process and oversight, courts have viewed these standards with suspicion. Between 1971 and 1983, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued nine emergency temporary standards. Of those, six were challenged. The courts fully vacated or stayed the standards in four cases, partially stated the standards in another, and upheld only one of the six.
Ultimately, the Republicans admonished Biden for offering Americans “flimsy legal arguments, contradictory statements,” and threatening directives which only sow “division and distrust.”
“We thus urge you to reconsider your unlawful and harmful plan and allow people to make their own decisions,” they wrote.
“If your administration does not alter its course, the undersigned state Attorneys General will seek every available legal option to hold you accountable and uphold the rule of law,” they vowed.
The letter is signed by attorney generals of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Read the full letter here.