President Joe Biden’s plan to require employers with 100 or more workers to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or frequent testing is meeting with opposition at the state level, with 24 Republican attorneys general warning of a potential legal battle ahead.
The attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming sent a letter to the White House Thursday calling the plan “disastrous and counterproductive.”
“If your administration does not alter its course, the undersigned state attorneys general will seek every available legal option to hold you accountable and uphold the rule of law,” they wrote.
The AGs claimed in their letter that the president’s order is illegal as well as unlikely to be successful as a public health measure because “many who decide to leave their jobs rather than follow your directive will be essential healthcare workers.”
In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul is facing a legal battle of her own over a state vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. Hochul stated in a press briefing earlier this week that she will fight a lawsuit launched by a group of Christian healthcare practitioners who argue that New York’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for many healthcare workers is unconstitutional because it lacks a religious exemption.
“We are going to make sure that we defend the right of state of New York to ensure that anyone in a healthcare facility can meet a patient, and that patient does not have to worry when they go in there for healthcare, that they’re going to contract a virus from one of the people that are supposed to protect their health,” the governor said. “And we’re hoping that we will make overwhelmingly persuasive arguments in support of allowing the state of New York to do what is necessary to protect the public health.”
The Empire State mandate is supposed to go into effect Sept. 27. A federal judge on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order blocking New York state from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers, saying their constitutional rights were violated.