TOPEKA – (June 27, 2022) – Although the issue has fallen out of the headlines, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is still fighting back against the Biden administration’s continuing efforts to mandate that federal contractors and their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.
"The Biden administration hasn't given up on trying to impose its job-or-jab federal mandates, and neither have we given up our efforts to stop them," Schmidt said.
The so-called federal contractor vaccination mandate received considerable attention last fall when it threatened the jobs of many workers at Kansas defense contractors, such as those in the aerospace industry, as well as employees at state research universities. Public attention waned after Schmidt went to court and in December 2021 obtained an injunction to block the mandate, easing the threat to Kansans' jobs.
But the Biden administration is still in court pushing hard to lift the injunction and restore its mandate. And Schmidt is still fighting back.
This month, Schmidt joined briefs in support of legal challenges to the federal contractor mandate filed by several states in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and the 8th Circuit. Kansas is a party to litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, where the Biden administration is still fighting to lift the injunction that blocks it from enforcing the mandate in Kansas.
Schmidt has aggressively fought back against federal vaccine mandates since last September, when President Biden announced his “patience is wearing thin” and began ordering federal vaccine mandates. To date, Schmidt has brought legal challenges to four of the Biden mandates, including the mandate to federal contractors.
The OSHA mandate for private employers was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court, and later withdrawn by the federal government. The Head Start mandate that requires all staff and contractors in Head Start facilities to be vaccinated and requires toddlers age two and older to wear masks is blocked in Kansas by a federal district court.
In May, Schmidt and officials from nine other states asked the U.S. Supreme Court review the legality of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. In January, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to temporarily block the healthcare mandate from being implemented, but did not reach all of the statutory or constitutional questions presented in the states’ petition. That litigation is ongoing.
Copies of the briefs filed in the federal contractor mandate cases in the 5th and 8th Circuits are available at https://bit.ly/3uhyFP1 and https://bit.ly/3uhyFP1.