Ga., S.C. sue over vaccine mandate for health care workers

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 10:51 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2021 at 8:34 AM EST
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ATLANTA – Georgia and South Carolina have sued in federal court to block the mandate requiring health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

They’re asking the court to hold that the vaccine mandate is unlawful and vacate it, while blocking the Biden administration from implementing it.

The emergency regulation, issued Nov. 5 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, mandates full COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible staff at health care facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs by Jan. 4.

“After health care heroes went above and beyond the call of duty to keep Americans safe and healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Biden is now threatening their livelihood if they refuse COVID-19 vaccination,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said. “Yet another unlawful mandate from this administration will only worsen worker shortages in a critical-need area.”

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said several other states have joined the effort, including Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia.

“The Biden administration has struck once again, attempting to coerce our healthcare workers into being vaccinated. The federal government seeks to bully the sovereign State of South Carolina into submission with the promise of federal funds,” Wilson said.

He called the mandate and “abuse of power,” adding that “the rule of law and Constitution will prevail and federal power stopped dead in its tracks.”

Wilson and Kemp said the mandate:

  • Exceeds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ statutory authority.
  • Involves an unlawful attempt to supervise or control the practice of medicine.
  • Was issued without statutorily required public notice and comment.
  • Violates the Congressional Review Act.
  • Is arbitrary and capricious.
  • Was issued without consulting the appropriate state and local agencies.
  • Places an unconstitutional condition on receipt of federal funds.
  • Directs state officers to administer federal law.

Violates the Tenth Amendment because the federal government lacks the power to mandate vaccination.

Previously, on Oct. 29, Kemp and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr filed a lawsuit in Augusta federal court to challenge the vaccine mandate for federal contractors. They also on Nov. 5 sued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to challenge the vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more workers.

From reports by WRDW/WAGT and WCSC