COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and six other attorneys general today sued the Biden administration saying that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can’t force tens of millions of Americans in the private sector to get the COVID shot.
The states are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to stop the vaccine mandate while the case is ongoing.
“A nationwide vaccine mandate that has nothing to do with workplace risk is a dangerous and unlawful use of executive power,” Yost said. “Congress has not given the president the power to make personal health-care decisions for all Americans who just so happen to work at a company with at least 100 employees.”
The coalition of attorneys general argues that emergency temporary standards were for purpose of protecting employees from grave dangers posed by exposure to substances or harmful toxins encountered at work, such as benzyne or beryllium.
They’re saying that the authority does not extend to risks that are equally prevalent at work as at home, the grocery store, or, say, the Met Gala.
The lawsuit says that just last year, “OSHA refused to issue a nationwide emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 because ‘COVID-19 is a community-wide hazard that is not unique to the workplace.’”
The group disputes that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate prohibits sovereign states from enacting and enforcing their own policies in response to the pandemic.
“Each Petitioner State has enacted its own laws and policies — or declined to issue certain mandates — in a way that balances the need for public health with the right of its citizens,” the lawsuit says. OSHA’s mandate takes away that power from the states and prevents policymakers from enacting policies that benefit their respective states.
Yost’s lawsuit joins similar lawsuits by attorneys general from Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.