A federal judge on Friday blocked the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers and ruled that the government could not discipline those who choose not to get vaccinated.
US District Judge Jeffrey Brown said his ruling was about “whether the President can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment.”
The ruling is the latest setback for President Joe Biden’s push for more vaccinations. Biden in September announced the requirement for federal employees, aimed at mitigating the then-rampant Delta variant. Biden also instituted mandates for large employers and healthcare workers.
But Republicans immediately pushed back against the mandates — and they’ve found success in the courts while trying to limit Biden’s orders.
Last week, the Supreme Court blocked Biden’s vaccine-or-testing mandate for private companies with over 100 employees.
Brown —who was appointed by Trump in 2019 — cited the Supreme Court decision in his own ruling, saying the mandate for federal workers was “a bridge too far.”
The Supreme Court did, however, allow a vaccine requirement for healthcare workers at federally funded facilities to take effect across the US.