The Biden administration was dealt another blow on Friday after a federal judge in Galveston, Texas, blocked President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees.
According to Reuters, Biden issued a mandate requiring approximately 3.5 million federal employees to get vaccinated by Nov. 22 or face disciplinary action or termination. Additionally, the mandate prohibits anyone from seeking medical or religious exemptions.
On Friday, however, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown asserted if Biden could "require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment. That, under the current state of the law, as just recently expressed by the Supreme Court, is a bridge too far."
Brown, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, suggested that the government impose less aggressive measures, such as masking and social distancing.
"We are confident in our legal authority," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in response to Brown's decision.
The Justice Department announced that it plans to appeal Friday's ruling. The department pointed out that multiple courts have rejected similar challenges. It also ensured that employees with pending exemption requests will not face disciplinary action.
Brown, on his part, said that his understanding was that the government would punish employees immediately for refusing to comply.
According to the White House, over 93 percent of federal workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least once, while 98 percent have been inoculated or are seeking a medical or religious exemption.
The White House also recently called for mandatory weekly COVID-19 tests by Feb. 15.
The decision comes after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Biden's vaccine-or-test mandate for large businesses with over 100 employees. The ruling has already prompted some large companies, such as Starbucks, to drop mandatory vaccinations for their employees.
In a separate ruling, the nation's high court did, however, allow a different vaccine mandate that requires healthcare workers to be vaccinated stand.
In December, a federal judge blocked a third major vaccine requirement directed at employees of federal contractors such as airlines and manufacturers.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Sittithat Tangwitthayaphum
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.