Local political science professor breaks down legal battle over Biden’s vaccine mandate

Local political science professor breaks down legal battle over Biden’s vaccine mandate
Local political science professor breaks down legal battle over Biden’s vaccine mandate
Published: Nov. 7, 2021 at 10:58 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate isn’t in full effect yet, but it’s already caught up in the courts.

Saturday, a U.S. federal appeals court temporarily halted the mandate for private businesses. Mississippi was one of the states that filed a lawsuit to block it Friday.

The mandate would require workers at U.S. companies with 100 or more employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing.

Dr. Maruice Mangum, the chair of Jackson State University’s Political Science Department, said, politically, the lawsuit challenging Biden’s mandate is significant due to the sheer number of governors and attorneys general involved.

But, legally, he said it doesn’t hold a whole lot of weight.

“The thing about the Biden Administration’s [mandate] is that you can get tested weekly if you refuse to get vaccinated,” he said. “So if you don’t want to get vaccinated, there is an option for you.”

He added that it also allows for exceptions for religious or health reasons.

Mangum said he’s not too surprised by Saturday’s ruling to put a freeze on the mandate because the appeals court judges who made the ruling were all appointed by Republican presidents.

However, if the Biden Administration moves forward with fighting for the mandate in the courts, Mangum thinks it could be upheld at a higher level.

“We’ve had required vaccines in this country before. We don’t talk about polio much because it was a required vaccination,” he said. “At that time, there were some people who were opposed to it, but they weren’t given platforms like they are today when it comes to COVID-19.”

In terms of whether or not the Occupational Safety and Health Administration - or OSHA - has the authority to enforce a vaccine, Mangum said this is in line with what the administration has done for decades.

“When it comes to construction sites, construction workers have to wear hard hats,” he said. “When it comes to dealing with hazard waste, there’s a certain way you have to deal with it and dispose of hazardous waste.”

Governor Tate Reeves tweeted Friday that he and the AG will continue using every tool at their disposal to stop President Biden’s “flagrant abuse of power.” He added Saturday that the fight continues, but the court’s latest ruling is a big first step.

As Biden’s mandate was originally drafted, it’s set to take effect on January 4th, but there’s some uncertainty for those businesses while it’s stuck in court.

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