Utah asks Supreme Court to stop Biden vaccine, testing mandate

Twenty-seven states asked Justice Brett Kavanaugh to put the mandate on hold pending a full decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Twenty-seven states, including Utah, asked the Supreme Court to freeze a lower court ruling that reinstated the Biden administration's vaccine or testing mandate for large businesses.

On Monday, Utah and 26 other states asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the Biden administration’s rule requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to have those workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing.

A federal appeals court had reinstated the rule Friday evening, reversing a lower court decision to put the proposal on hold. The rule is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 4. Businesses that do not comply with the rule could face hefty fines.

The 27-state coalition is made up of mostly Republican-controlled states. There are three Democratic-led states: Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana.

“This case does not present the question whether vaccines or vaccine mandates are wise or desirable. Instead, it presents the narrow questions whether OSHA had the authority to issue the mandate, and whether it lawfully exercised whatever authority it had,” the Monday filing reads.

Last month, Utah joined several other GOP-led states in a lawsuit to block the mandate, claiming President Joe Biden overstepped his authority by using an executive order to circumvent Congress.

The Monday appeal asked the court to put the rule on hold until there’s time to review the numerous filings in the case.

On Friday, OSHA published a statement on its website saying the agency would not issue any citations for noncompliance with the mandate before Jan. 10.

Utah operates its workplace safety program independently of the federal government but is required to implement federal OSHA rules, or an alternative that is at least as effective as the national standard, within 30 days.

In October, OSHA announced it was moving to revoke part of Utah’s approval to conduct workplace safety on a state level as the state failed to implement a COVID-19 workplace safety rule for health care workers.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh has jurisdiction over the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and will decide whether to refer the appeal to the full court for a decision.