Three Christian ministries have filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme court to block the Biden administration’s COVID vaccine mandate for the private sector, which requires companies with at least 100 employees to require the jab or be subjected to weekly testing.
The controversial vaccine mandate was blocked by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in early November but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on Friday.
“The Sixth Circuit panel’s decision to end the stay is outrageous and endangers the freedom of all Americans,” First Liberty Institute president, CEO, and chief counsel Kelly Shackelford said in a statement on the filing, as reported by Fox Business. The Plano, Texas based nonprofit Christian conservative legal organization is representing the three ministries.
Shackelford argued that not many people are aware that Biden’s vaccine mandate for the private sector actually applies to “all religious organizations of over 100 employees” as well, arguing that the requirement, which is being implemented by Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standard, is “clearly lawless.”
“Our clients simply cannot comply with a government mandate that forces them to violate the conscience rights of their employees,” Shackelford argued. “The Supreme Court must act, or there will be a Constitutional crisis.”
The three ministries requesting the Supreme Court to block Biden’s vaccine mandate are the American Family Association, Answers in Genesis, and the Daystar Television Network. On Saturday night, First Liberty Institute filed the petition on their behalf.
In the filing, the Christian ministries underscored how the Bible is “the inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God” that “teaches that the right of conscience is sacred and must remain inviolate.” They argued that COVID vaccine mandates that force organizations to vaccinate their workers against their will is “one that would require it to violate their employees’ sacred rights of belief and conscience.”
OSHA was tasked by the Biden administration to implement the COVID vaccine mandate for the private sector, specifically for organizations with at least 100 employees. When the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided to lift the stay on the block on Friday, the OSHA expressed its approval. A spokesperson said that the vaccine requirement is a “vital workplace health standard.”
AP News reported that on Friday, a 2-1 decision by a panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overruled a decision by a federal judge in a separate court that blocked Biden’s vaccine mandate. Republican state attorneys general and conservative groups are already mobilizing to appeal Friday’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Friday’s majority decision was made by Judge Julia Smith Gibbons, who was nominated by former Republican President George W. Bush and Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch, an appointee by former Democrat President Barack Obama.
The only judge who dissented was Judge Joan Larsen, an appointee of former Republican President Donald Trump, who argued that Congress “did not authorize OSHA to make this sort of rule and that it did not qualify as a necessity to use the emergency procedures the agency followed to put it in place,” the report said.