Heritage Foundation sues Biden admin over vaccine mandate

Biden delivers remarks on his Administration’s work to strengthen the nation’s supply chains, lower everyday costs for families and ensure that shelves are well-stocked this holiday season

The Heritage Foundation has filed a lawsuit against President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers, claiming it is a “gross abuse” of government power and a violation of personal liberty, the conservative think tank announced Monday.

The American Center for Law and Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Heritage Foundation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that claimed Biden’s vaccine mandate, enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), represents a “gross abuse of power” and “clearly encroaches on the police power of states expressly reserved by the Tenth Amendment.” 

President Biden delivers remarks at the start of a hybrid virtual roundtable with CEOs and leaders of retail, consumer products firms, and grocery store chains in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Nov. 29, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The lawsuit says the mandate also “exceeds the federal government’s authority under the Commerce Clause,” and would “impermissibly” compel citizens “to act as the Government would have them act.”

Incoming Heritage president Kevin Roberts, who takes office Wednesday, said the lawsuit is unusual for the think tank but necessary.

“The Heritage Foundation has not historically filed lawsuits,” Roberts said in a statement. “That we are doing so now should make clear to any observer that we view this mandate as deadly serious threat to our individual liberty and the values that make America great. Under my predecessors, The Heritage Foundation has stood rock-solid in defense of liberty, freedom, and opportunity for all, and it will continue to do so under my leadership.”

“I wish this lawsuit were unnecessary,” he continued. “I wish we had an administration in the White House that respected the Constitution and the rule of law. From the unprecedented border crisis, to the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, to now this unlawful COVID vaccine mandate, it is irrevocably clear that this administration will stop at nothing—even harming Americans and our national interests—in pursuit of the most radical policy agenda in American history. Rest assured, we at Heritage are only just beginning to fight back.” 

Anthony Fauci (R), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, speaks alongside U.S. President Biden as he delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting of the COVID-19 response team at the White House on Nov. 29, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Kay C. James, the foundation’s outgoing president, issued a statement calling the mandate “unacceptable overreach” by the Biden administration.

“Dr. Roberts and I, along with the Board of Trustees, unanimously agreed The Heritage Foundation has a vital role to play in the courts to protect and secure the freedom of all Americans to make medical decision for themselves,” James said. 

The foundation’s lawsuit comes days after OSHA announced that it is abiding by a court order and suspending enforcement of the mandate on large private businesses.

President Biden salutes and first lady Jill Biden waves as they board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

OSHA had originally given private businesses with more than 100 employees a Jan. 4 deadline to comply with the mandate and threatened thousands of dollars in fines for defiant businesses.

After the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decided on Nov. 12 to uphold a stay on the OSHA order, the Department of Justice (DOJ) vowed to “vigorously defend” the mandate.

“This decision is just the beginning of the process for review of this important OSHA standard,” a spokesperson told Fox News on Nov. 13. “The Department will continue to vigorously defend the standard and looks forward to obtaining a definitive resolution following consolidation of all of the pending cases for further review.” 

Meanwhile, the White House said earlier this month that it would delay its vaccine mandate deadline for federal contractors from Dec. 8 to Jan. 4.

Fox News’ Kyle Morris and Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.

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