Justice Department asks High Court to authorize vaccination warrant

Biden administration asks Supreme Court to block lower court orders that prevent President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers from going into effect in around half of states

He said the requirement “will save hundreds, if not thousands of lives every month.”

The administration’s request comes a day after the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Court of Appeals lifted a nationwide ban on the warrant. Instead, the court allowed the warrant to remain blocked in 14 states that had collectively sued in federal court in Louisiana. The action changed a Nov. 30 ruling by U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, who initially enforced his order nationwide.

Another appeals court, the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Court of Appeals, refused to overturn a lower court order blocking the warrant in 10 other states.

The Biden administration has asked judges to allow the warrant to take effect in the 24 states covered by the rulings of those two courts. A Texas federal judge granted an injunction on Wednesday that only applies to that state.

Another appeals court, the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals, allowed the warrant to continue, saying Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra had the power to order the vaccines.

Legal challenges to Biden’s vaccine mandate for private employers are also ongoing.

The High Court in other cases has authorized more stringent vaccine warrants. Judges on Monday refused to suspend a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for healthcare workers in New York City that does not offer an exemption for religious reasons. And previously, the court had dismissed an emergency appeal from Maine healthcare workers to block a vaccine warrant that had no religious exemption. In both cases, three Conservative judges – Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – were dissenting.

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