Indiana to file lawsuits challenging federal vaccine mandates

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Fall boosters engineered to target the BA.4 and BA.5 versions of omicron may be quickly outpaced. Still, those booster shots remain the best tool on the shelf.

Indiana will file three lawsuits to challenge federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates for large private employers, certain health care workers and federal contractors, Indiana’s Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita announced Thursday.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, also Republican, expressed his support for the legal challenge, saying he had directed the Indiana Department of Labor to work with the attorney general to oppose the mandates.

The Republican pushback came just hours after the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden finalized rules for federal vaccine mandates that are set to be enforced starting Jan. 4.

One set of rules sets up vaccination-or-test requirements for businesses with more than 100 workers, regulated through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Another implements a vaccine mandate for health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid. Biden also issued an executive order requiring federal contractors to ensure their employees are vaccinated, and details on that were released Monday.

Rokita said the three separate lawsuits will address each component of the Biden administration’s rules. The suits will be filed starting this afternoon and over the coming days his office reviews the rules.

Indiana will likely be joined by Mississippi and Louisiana on the contractor lawsuit, Rokita said.

Rokita said the primary legal argument against the OSHA mandate for businesses is that it is government overreach and a misuse of the OSHA law.

“It’s again egregious and insidious that you’d use something, a law that was meant to protect workers at the workplace from dangerous toxicities from other directly unsafe situations, to use it in this fashion,” Rokita said. “And that’s how we’re going to win the case, by the way.”

He also noted that the federal mandate would nullify a law passed by the Indiana Legislature this session preventing state or local government agencies from requiring anyone, including employees, to show proof of vaccination.

That’s because state and local governments in Indiana and other states that operate their own occupational safety and health regulatory programs must adopt rules at least as stringent as as federal OSHA requirements.

Holcomb also called the vaccine mandates an “overreach.”

“While I agree that the vaccine is the tool that will best protect against COVID-19, this federal government approach is unprecedented and will bring about harmful, unintended consequences in the supply chain and the workforce,” Holcomb said in a statement.

Indiana Republicans are also challenging the federal vaccine mandates at the congressional level.

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun is leading 40 other  Senate Republicans in efforts to disapprove and nullify Biden’s vaccine mandate under the Congressional Review Act.  Sen. Todd Young, also representing Indiana, has joined the effort.

“Since the announcement of President Biden’s vaccine and testing mandate in September, I have led the charge to strike down this vast overstep of authority by the federal government,” Braun said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Today, we are one step closer to protecting the liberties of millions of Americans in the private sector workforce under the Congressional Review Act. I urge my Senate colleagues to vote in favor of this disapproval resolution in the coming weeks.”

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17 thoughts on “Indiana to file lawsuits challenging federal vaccine mandates

  1. Sen. Braun, how about you protect my freedom to get past this pandemic, rather than fighting tooth and nail on the side of the virus? How about taking the side of your own species and our right to finally get our lives back? We didn’t elect you to do battle against our health.

  2. Protect the liberty to be ill, spread disease, and incapacitate any economic improvement by this asinine waste of taxpayer money.

    Should one choose not to receive a vaccine, one must be tested on a regular basis. Or, why not just seek ongoing telework. And while wearing a mask would of course be a further infringement, this small selfless rather that selfish act would benefit colleagues and society at large.

    Agreed, Indiana shares fine company with Louisiana and Mississippi in a race for the lowest common denominator. IN certainly has problems that legislators should prioritize over this ridiculous lawsuit.

    Too many apparently share a common cavalier Indiana attitude that vaccines and precautions are no more than dastardly democratic measures designed to inhibit and restrict individual liberty.

    One hopes that attendees for upcoming conventions in Indianapolis will adhere to reasonable policies. A health and safety issue, real or perceived, would likely limit the economic benefits that flow to Indiana compliments of these gatherings.

    1. Those that still push the “you can still spread…” or “you can still get….” lines regarding the vaccination simply haven’t kept up. That’s not the key points of the vaccine. Rather points include “You are less likely to take hospital space that might be needed for other people.” and “people are less likely to die.”

    1. Except that which benefits him — specifically whatever office he wants to run for next.
      The funny thing is, there is *NO* mandate. The media, as intelligent as they’d like to think of themselves as being, seems to overlook the definition of a mandate: “an order”. There is no mandate. No one is telling anyone, “you HAVE to get vaccinated”…you HAVE a CHOICE. Now, neither choice might seem palatable, but you still have a choice.
      There is no mandate that children must be vaccinated. Personally, I think parents should be given an option: vaccinate your child(ren) or they can attend school remotely. The funny thing is, there are a *lot* of kids who want to get vaccinated. It’s the parents who are being selfish.

  3. Why is anyone who is vaccinated worried about others? Doesn’t the vaccine protect those who are vaccinated? If the vaccine works, it is illogical to worry about what others want to do for themselves if you have the vaccine. If the vaccine doesn’t work, then why should anyone get it, especially why should anyone be forced to?

    1. Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition. They rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease.

    2. You are obviously ill-informed despite the many times this point has been made (in legitimate press). A vaccinated person can still contract the virus and be a carrier despite showing little or no symptoms. And then pass it along to their or others’ unvaccinated children, or the immunocompromised who either can’t get the vaccine or enjoy less protection as a result. But that implies you can string together 2-3 consecutive thoughts from A to B to C.

    3. Why do we care? COVID kills a certain percentage of people it infects. It makes a certain percentage sick enough to be hospitalized. Sick and dying people fill up hospitals denying the rest of America access to health care. Dead people don’t contribute to the economy at all ever again. Sick people don’t contribute to the economy as long as they are sick.

      People that are unvaccinated are more likely to get COVID even if they have already had COVID in an earlier wave. Unvaccinated people are more likely to be incubate the virus for longer than vaccinated people, thus spreading the disease to more people, even to some already vaccinated people. See paragraph one for the results.

      I would really care if Cousin Maga visits at Christmas and infects and kills grandma and grandpa, and maybe even the rest of my family, so do you see why everyone should get vaccinated?

    4. MG: Apparently you aren’t well-educated.
      1) No, the vaccination doesn’t protect those, it just changes the odds significantly. Those who get vaccinated *can* still get sick…and they can even die. But as I said, it changes the odds.
      2) As far as the people who don’t get vaccinated go, we need to stop using the word “variant” and use “mutation” because that seems to mean more to some people. One of the things which has become apparent is that every person who contracts Covid stands the risk of mutating whatever mutation they contracted. All it’s going to take is for the right mutation to come along and become more lethal, easier to contract (to the point of defying the vaccination and making EVERYONE susceptible to it just as they were pre-vaccine).
      How lethal would Covid have to be before it instills in you the desire to get vaccinated? What other vaccinations do you abstain from getting? Why? You’re doubting the prowess of the medical community — how often do you doubt your physicians (or PAs or RNs) when they convey medical information to you? I find it kind of interesting people will take Donald to be a medical authority who was vaccinated before he was booted out of office (although he managed to tell one audience to get vaccinated and everyone booed him) or even Rand(y) Paul, a serial plagiarist (yes, I know he’s a physician) who was likely to have been vaccinated as well.

  4. First, how much is this going to cost our state? I am sure outside counsel (perhaps political donors) will also benefit from this suit.
    Second, it is amazing that there is so little concern for the health and well being of ALL Hoosiers. We know from past pandemics that vaccinations work and they were stopped. When will they wake up and accept that it is the unvaccinated who are lingering, and sometimes dying, in our hospitals. At some point there may not be enough of the Republicans left to vote due to Covid.

    1. That’s my hope, frankly. It would not bother me much if the obstinate get the bug and die.

    2. Yes, review of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic documents behaviour eerily similar to that in Indiana and across the nation. Many at that time chose independence and defiance regarding measures strongly suggested to keep society at large safe. While a government mandate is vigorously opposed by some, employer requirements seems to meet resistance. Or, perhaps many opposed acquiesce to maintain [their] livelihoods.