As set forth in more detail in its Order, a Georgia federal district court judge today issued an injunction halting enforcement of Executive Order 14042, which requires that federal contractors and subcontractors with specific types of covered contracts ensure that their covered employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 18th, 2022.

As the Order states,

Accordingly,  the Court ORDERS that Defendants are ENJOINED, during the pendency of this action or until further order of this Court, from enforcing the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in any state or territory of the United States of America.

In a brief 28-page decision U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker found

it necessary, in order to truly afford injunctive relief to the parties before it, to issue an injunction with nationwide applicability.

The case was initially filed by the states of Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.  However, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. a nationwide trade organization “representing tens of thousands of contractors and subcontractors that regularly bid on and work on federal contracts for services” petitioned to intervene in the suit and joined the states in their request for a preliminary injunction.

In granting the injunction, Judge Baker found

The Court finds that Plaintiffs have a likelihood of proving that Congress, through the language it used, did not clearly authorize the President to issue the kind of mandate contained in EO 14042, as EO 14042 goes far beyond addressing administrative and management issues in order to promote efficiency and economy in procurement and contracting, and instead, in application, works as a regulation of public health, which is not clearly authorized under the Procurement Act.

The Court also found that “Plaintiffs have a likelihood of proving that EO 14042 does not have a sufficient nexus to the purposes of the Procurement Act and thus does not fall within the authority actually granted to the President in that Act.”

This Order follows the order of a Kentucky federal court also enjoining enforcement of the Executive Order in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.  In contrast, today’s Order halts enforcement of the Executive Order nationwide.

In addition, both OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and the requirements issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that employees and healthcare workers be fully vaccinated have been enjoined nationwide.

Thus, each of President Biden’s federal-level efforts to combat COVID-19 has now been enjoined by federal courts.

We will continue to provide updates on the status of Executive Order 14042 and anticipate that a final determination of the viability of the Executive Order may be months away.