Missouri court adds to ban on Biden contractor vaccine rule

A federal judge in Missouri has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors from being enforced in 10 states that sued

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A federal judge in Missouri added another legal block Monday against President Joe Biden’s requirement that federal contractors receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

The new preliminary injunction prohibits enforcement of the contractors’ vaccine mandate in 10 states that collectively sued. It comes on top of a nationwide injunction issued earlier this month by a federal judge in Georgia.

The requirement for federal contractors stems from a September executive order issued by Biden requiring compliance with workplace safety guidelines developed by a federal task force. That task force subsequently issued guidelines requiring that new, renewed or extended contracts include a clause requiring employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18, with limited medical or religious exceptions. That meant those receiving a two-dose vaccine must get their second shot by Jan. 4.

A judge in Kentucky initially barred enforcement of the requirement only in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. A Georgia judge presiding over a separate lawsuit imposed a nationwide injunction on Dec. 7. The latest injunction — issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge David Noce in another lawsuit — applies in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Noce said the vaccine requirement likely exceeds the president’s power to set purchasing rules as spelled out in federal law. Federal rules for contractors typically cover such things as employees’ rights, wages and nondiscrimination policies, he said.

Biden’s other vaccine mandates are in various stages of enforcement.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday reversed a previous injunction against a Biden mandate that employers with more than 100 employees require their workers to be vaccinated or get tested weekly and wear masks. But Republican attorneys general, business associations and several conservative groups immediately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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