The Trump-linked America First Policy Institute filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its COVID-19 vaccine-or-test mandate for private businesses with 100 or more employees.
The group’s Constitutional Litigation Partnership, which helped former President Donald Trump file his lawsuit against Facebook and Twitter earlier in the year, asked the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (pdf) to temporarily block the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule that was handed down last week.
So far, dozens of states, businesses, and individuals have filed legal challenges against the mandate. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the rule on Nov. 6, although White House officials have said they’re confident the rule will be upheld.
America First Policy Institute, joined by the Alliance for Free Citizens, are representing two North Dakota businesses with 100 or more employees, DTN Staffing and Miller Insulation. They argued that with the rule, the “federal government is violating the rights of Americans by infringing on individual liberty and Americans’ right to make personal health decisions without the risk of losing their job,” according to an accompanying news release.
And the legal challenge further argued OSHA’s emergency temporary standard rule creates a “disproportionately adverse impact” on individuals with sincere religious beliefs. Lawyers argued that the weekly testing and mask-wearing option also “severely burdens their exercise of her religious faith” and “unfairly treats them differently from vaccinated employees” because the rule requires “them to wear masks at all times while at work, marking them with a virtual scarlet letter” and forcing them to pay for weekly testing.
Kris Kobach, general counsel for the Alliance for Free Citizens, argued that their case is critical in the defense of the U.S. Constitution against the Biden administration’s overreach.
Their legal challenge comes after a series of lawsuits filed by Republican-led states, GOP-affiliated groups, and private businesses over the rule.
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre this week said that despite the lawsuits, businesses should “move forward” with attempting to adhere to the OSHA rule by setting up testing procedures and COVID-19 vaccine mandates for workers.
“These are policies that are protecting workforces and avoiding disruptions related to employees getting sick with COVID,” she said on Tuesday.
Days before, White House chief of staff Ron Klain told “Meet the Press” that he’s confident the Biden administration will prevail in implementing the rule.
“I’m quite confident that when this finally gets fully adjudicated, not just a temporary order, the validity of this requirement will be upheld,” he said on Sunday. “It’s common sense … if OSHA can tell people to wear a hard hat on the job, to be careful around chemicals, it can put in place these simple measures to keep our workers safe.”
If the rule goes through, a number of trade associations, such as those representing truckers and manufacturers, expressed alarm that it would trigger significant supply chain bottlenecks, which would in turn, likely cause prices to spike.
The American Trucking Associations warned that it estimates about 13 percent of truckers would leave the industry entirely, and some 37 percent of drivers could possibly depart their jobs at large trucking companies and seek employment elsewhere.