NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court has upheld President Joe Biden’s requirement that all federal employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a 2-1 ruling Thursday, a panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed a lower court and ordered dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the mandate.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown of Texas had issued a nationwide injunction against the requirement in January.
Brown said at the time that the question was whether the president 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.”
A different 5th Circuit panel had refused to block it on appeal.
But Thursday’s ruling said the federal judge didn’t have jurisdiction in the case because employees challenging the requirement could have pursued administrative remedies under Civil Service law.
In September, 2021 Biden issued an executive order mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for federal employees to battle deaths and hospitalizations from the spread of the delta variant, the predominant coronavirus strain at the time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.