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Attorney General John O’Connor Files Lawsuit Challenging Biden Administration’s Vaccine Mandate for Private Sector Employees

OKLAHOMA CITY - Attorney General John O’Connor today partnered with six other attorneys general to file a petition before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit challenging the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for private sector employees. 

The coalition asks the court to review the emergency temporary standard issued by the Biden Administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which requires the vaccination of tens of millions of citizens.

“In Oklahoma, President Biden will not determine how an individual makes healthcare decisions for themselves and their families,” General O’Connor said. “The Biden Administration continuously uses federal overreach to strip away Americans’ constitutional rights and I will continue to defend the rule of law against this absurd abuse of power.”

Despite warnings from attorneys general across the country about the legality of a vaccine mandate, the Biden administration issued the emergency temporary standard through OSHA today.

In their petition, the coalition challenges the legality of the Biden Administration’s emergency temporary standard and asks the Sixth Circuit to review the validity of the mandate, arguing that OSHA lacks statutory and constitutional authority to issue it.

The coalition argues that the power to issue emergency temporary standards was delegated to OSHA by Congress for the express purpose of protecting employees from grave dangers posed by exposure to substances or physically harmful toxins encountered at work.

However, that authority does not extend to risks that are equally prevalent at work and in society at large. Just last year, OSHA refused to issue a nationwide emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 because "COVID-19 is a community-wide hazard that is not unique to the workplace."

The coalition also contends that the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate prohibits sovereign states from enacting and enforcing their own policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA’s mandate takes away that power from the states and prevents policymakers from enacting policies that are beneficial to their respective states.

The attorneys general ask the court to halt President Biden’s vaccine mandate until the court rules on the legitimacy of the rule.  

“We are thankful for the support of the legislature to bring this lawsuit on behalf of the State and the governor,” General O’Connor said. “With their support, we can protect hardworking Oklahomans from this reckless and unconstitutional federal overreach.”

Attorney General O’Connor joined the lawsuit alongside attorneys general from Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

View a copy of the filing here. 

View a copy of the Motion for Stay