DOJ to Appeal Ruling Blocking Biden's Vax Mandate for Federal Employees President Joe Biden receives a COVID-19 booster shot during an event in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP)
By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 21 January 2022 03:12 PM
The Department of Justice will appeal a federal judge's ruling Friday that President Joe Biden cannot require federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Reuters tweeted early in the afternoon that DOJ will appeal the ruling.
During a during a media briefing, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the administration was "confident in our legal authority.”
Psaki also said that 98% of federal workers were vaccinated or had sought medical or religious exemptions. "A remarkable number," she added.
Biden issued an order requiring about 3.5 million workers to get vaccinated by Nov. 22 or seek a religious or medical accommodation or face discipline or firing.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown, appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump, on Friday ruled that at issue was 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.
"That, under the current state of the law as just recently expressed by the Supreme Court, is a bridge too far."
The Supreme Court last week blocked Biden's COVID vaccination-or-test mandate for large businesses. Biden had announced in September that he was making vaccinations compulsory at companies that employ 100 workers or more.
The high court, though, allowed a vaccination mandate for health care workers at facilities receiving federal funding to go ahead.
The federal government's power to mandate vaccination for its own employees is thought to be on stronger legal footing, The Hill reported.
"I’m sorry, but this is just insane," Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, tweeted after Brown's ruling. "The federal government lacks the power to require its *own* employees to be vaccinated?"