3-judge panel to review Biden's vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses

The federal government's vaccinate-or-test mandate for businesses will be reviewed by a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati — instead of a panel of all 16 judges, according to The Washington Post.

The decision, announced Dec. 15, comes after challenges to the mandate were consolidated Nov. 16 at the Ohio appeals court. A majority vote would have been needed for the entire 6th Circuit to take the case, but the vote was split 8-8.

In early November, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the vaccine-or-test emergency temporary standard covering businesses with 100 or more employees.

Businesses covered by the emergency temporary standard must put in place a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing and wear a face covering at work, according to OSHA. Under the rule, employers also must provide paid time off to workers to get inoculated and provide paid leave to employees to recover from any side effects of being vaccinated.

The rule is expected to affect more than 80 million workers in private sector businesses.

Several companies, organizations and individuals and 27 states have challenged the rules, The Washington Post reported.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Nov. 12 reaffirmed its decision to temporarily block the federal government from moving forward with the mandate, writing that challengers are likely to succeed in striking down the mandate on grounds that the rules exceed OSHA's statutory authority. Once the consolidated case was moved to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, it removed the matter from the federal appeals court in New Orleans.

The Biden administration is seeking to reinstate its vaccine-or-test mandate, arguing that delaying the mandate would have significant health and economic effects.

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