Ken Paxton, the Republican attorney general from Texas, filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order against a key part of President Biden’s COVID-19 mandate he says forces millions to choose between “fundamental constitutional rights and their livelihood.”
The federal contractor mandate has faced legal challenges by states that say the wording is vague and potentially wide-reaching. Paxton, a fierce critic of Biden, said the president has weaponized the “administrative state against these federal contractors in an unprecedented overreach.”
Paxton seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. He said he will not permit the president’s disdain for those who refused the jab to “seep into the great State of Texas.”
“Here, we protect individual liberties first and foremost, and Texans do not have to sacrifice their beliefs and their health to preserve their livelihoods,” he said in a statement.”
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.
Bloomberg Law pointed out that the president’s executive order lists Jan. 4 as the deadline for the vaccines without a “valid argument or accommodation.” Biden has said companies with at least 100 employees will have to require all their employees be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. The mandate for federal contractors does not have a testing option.
Some attornies said these state challenges may face an uphill fight in court. Karla Grossenbacher, a labor and employment partner at Seyfarth Shaw in Washington, told the outlet, “You’re talking about the federal government making rules about its own contracts.”
But others say the sheer speed of these mandates may create some legal vulnerabilities.
“The federal government is trying to do a lot in a short amount of time. When you do that, you could find there are problems around the edges of implementation,” Marc Antonetti, an employment partner with Baker & Hostetler LLP in D.C., told Bloomberg.