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Attorney General Knudsen continues to press Biden administration to end its unlawful COVID-19 vaccine mandate

HELENA – Attorney General Austin Knudsen continues to press the Biden administration over its unlawful COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Attorney General Knudsen and attorneys general from 26 other states today called on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to withdraw its private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate for good.   

The formal comments filed via letter follow a 6-3 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last week, which temporarily halted the Biden administration’s OSHA vaccine mandate that would require vaccination for tens of millions of Americans and add to the economic damage President Biden has already caused. The Supreme Court’s decision was issued in response to a legal challenge brought by Attorney General Knudsen and other state attorneys general.  

“The Supreme Court made it clear that President Biden overstepped his authority when he tried to make millions of Americans get the COVID-19 vaccine under threat of losing their livelihood, but his administration is continuing to push its unlawful mandate anyway,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “Montana will not stand for these unlawful, overreaching edicts. I’ll keep fighting until we end the President’s mandate madness once and for all.” 

In its decision, the Supreme Court held that OSHA lacks the statutory authority to issue the type of rule reflected by the emergency temporary standard (ETS). Despite the ruling, OSHA has not withdrawn the policy. And while the ETS applied to business with at least 100 employees, the Biden administration inferred it would seek to apply the mandate to smaller businesses in the future. 

“OSHA is interpreting its authority in a manner contrary to the United States Constitution. Assuming the Constitution allows a federal vaccine mandate— a doubtful proposition—Congress would have to delegate the authority with a clear, intelligible principle that the present text of the Act does not provide,” the comments filed by the coalition of state attorneys general read. “OSHA has used the Emergency Provision to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard only eleven times, and never has it been so expansive. Here, OSHA claims it has authority to impose a vaccinate-or-test mandate across ‘all industries’ on 84 million Americans. If Congress wanted to grant such immense power to OSHA, it would have been clearer about its intention.” 

The letter was sent to OSHA as part of the federal government’s formal regulatory comment process. Click here to read the full letter.