Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said at a press conference in Tallahassee, Florida, on Thursday that President Biden’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule forcing private employers with 100 or more employees to implement vaccine requirements or testing is “done,” predicting it will be “deep-sixed” by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
“My sense though is on how those mandates are working out, if you look at how it’s gone, the Sixth Circuit has OSHA consolidated –OSHA is done, okay,” he said. “You can take that to the bank. The Sixth Circuit is never going to uphold what OSHA did.”
“They’re going to absolutely deep-six that. I don’t know that the U.S. Supreme Court even accepts the case at that point, but if they do, almost assuredly, that will get deep-sixed,” DeSantis predicted, noting that Florida’s role in the litigation is “relatively minimal,” as it has been consolidated. Additionally, DeSantis noted that the contractor mandate has been suspended nationwide, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate has been stopped as well.
“I don’t anticipate us needing — mean we’ll see what happens and we do have money for it — but I think a lot of the litigation that we’ll see going forward will probably be on other issues because I think these have been significant defeats,” he added.
Indeed, OSHA’s mandate has since been suspended. The website currently states:
On November 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, published on November 5, 2021 (86 Fed. Reg. 61402) (“ETS”). The court ordered that OSHA “take no steps to implement or enforce” the ETS “until further court order.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit now has jurisdiction over ETS challenges and DOL has filed a motion to lift the stay. While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation. Note that the comment period is separate from the litigation.
DeSantis also spoke about how these mandates will only worsen as officials inevitably change the definition of “fully vaccinated” to include those who have had booster shots.
“And it’s interesting. I said about a month ago that before the special session that if these mandates are allowed, what they would do is they would change what fully vaccinated means. So right now, normal series, two doses,” he said.
“That will certainly, I said, in the future change to where if you don’t get the booster, then you could be subject to the mandates and have penalties and potentially lose your job,” he continued, explaining that some people had a “spasm” and said, “That’s not true.”
While he said they would have to wait and see, officials, he noted, are already signaling that it will be the case.
“Well, now, what’s Fauci saying? He’s saying now most assuredly, you’re going to need at least three shots to be considered fully vaccinated. So we’ve stopped the pretty much across the board on these vax mandates for now,” the governor added, warning that people in other states are going to face that challenge.