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Kansas AG threatens President with legal action over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

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Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 5:22 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Attorney General Derek Schmidt has faced President Joe Biden with an ultimatum: drop the proposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private-sector employees or face legal action.

AG Schmidt said he and attorneys general from 23 other states sent a letter to President Biden that warns litigation will follow if the administration proceeds with the announced plans to mandate many private-sector employees to either get vaccinated against COVID-19, submit to weekly testing or be fired.

The Biden Administration has indicated that intends to carry out the mandate through an Occupational Safety and Health Act emergency temporary standard.

“Congress has not clearly granted you the authority to impose your sweeping vaccine mandate, which would have enormous social, economic, and political consequences,” the attorneys general wrote. “Millions of Americans are threatened with losing their jobs and the benefits that come with them, including life and health insurance and retirement benefits. Your threat carries with it the threat of people losing their homes and shifting the financial obligation of supporting currently independent and employed individuals to public support systems. Worse still, if your expansive reading of the law succeeds, the American people can expect further abuses, as it is hard to imagine any requirement that the law would not allow. You are clearly acting beyond the scope of the statute, and you will fail in court.”

According to Schmidt, the attorneys general wrote that federal courts have been skeptical of the use of OSHA emergency temporary standards due to concern about federalism and the separation of powers. He and the others raise concerns over the expansion of a federal regulatory agency and public perception of the order’s constitutionality.

Among the concerns addressed in the letter, Schmidt said there are practical policy considerations for such a sweeping executive order. Most concerning, he said, is the potential to drive employees out of the workforce as many industries face a labor shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said it is also feared that the mandate would divert healthcare workers, which are in critical need to respond to the evolving pandemic.

According to Schmidt, the mandate also ignores tens of millions of Americans with natural immunity and will drive further skepticism of the vaccines.

“The risks of COVID-19 spread also vary widely depending on the nature of the business in question, many of which can have their employees, for example, work remotely,” the attorneys general wrote. “The one-size-fits-almost-all approach you have decreed makes clear you intend to use the OSHA statute as a pretext to impose an unprecedented, controversial public health measure on a nationwide basis that only incidentally concerns the workplace.”

Earlier in the week, Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) said he demanded a Congressional review of the mandate.

“President Biden’s vaccination decree is an all-out assault on private business, our civil liberties, and our entire constitutional system of limited government. The White House continues to ignore the Constitution as well as the science proving the benefits of natural immunity so they can justify an Executive Order that wipes out Americans’ control over their own healthcare options. Simply put, the Administration is overstepping its authority and we must hold them accountable with a formal challenge under the Congressional Review Act,” said Senator Marshall. “As a former physician who believes the vaccine has saved countless lives, I stand by my belief that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice that should be made following a conversation with one’s doctor instead of being administered across the board by government decree.”

To read the full letter, click HERE.

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