September 30, 2022

Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate Overturned

Georgia v. President of the United States, No. 21-14269, 2022 WL 3703822 (11th Cir. Aug. 26, 2022)

In August 2022, an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals case relating to the COVID-19 pandemic was published.  This case represents a shift in federal authority regulating workers’ rights pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Georgia v. President of the United States, the Court held that President Biden’s contractor vaccine mandate exceeded the scope of the authority granted to him under the Procurement Act.  The District Court for the Southern District of Georgia had granted a nationwide injunction prohibiting enforcement of President Biden’s Executive Order 14042, which directed executive agencies to include a clause in procurement agreements requiring federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  The Court affirmed the district court’s order to the extent that it enjoined federal agencies from enforcing the mandate against the plaintiffs in the case and to the extent that it barred the federal government from considering a bidder’s compliance with the mandate when deciding whether to grant a contract to a bidder.  However, the Court vacated the nationwide application of the mandate explaining that nationwide injunctions frustrate the foundational principles of the federal court system.  Now that the nationwide injunction has been lifted, the federal vaccine mandate is enforceable only when not subject to an injunction.

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