KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III and six other attorneys general filed a petition Friday with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccine mandate for private sector employees. 

In their petition, the coalition challenges the legality of the Biden administration’s emergency temporary standard and asks the 6th Circuit to review the validity of the mandate, arguing that OSHA lacks statutory and constitutional authority to issue it.

“As we anticipated, the mandate asserts an unprecedented expansion of emergency regulatory powers by a federal agency,” said General Slatery. “Its scope and breadth is only exceeded by its length (about 500 pages). It also fails to consider the many steps already taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by individuals, employers and our state.”

The coalition, including the states of Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma and West Virginia, asks the court to review the emergency temporary standard which requires the vaccination of tens of millions of citizens.

The suit argues that the power to issue emergency temporary standards was delegated to OSHA by Congress for the express purpose of protecting employees from grave dangers posed by exposure to substances like physically harmful chemicals or asbestos encountered at work. 

Slatery pointed out that in 2020, 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 coalition also contends the vaccine mandate prohibits states from enacting and enforcing their own COVID-19 policies. The lawsuit is also asking the court to halt the mandate until a ruling can be made in the case.

It is not the only lawsuit Slatery has joined challenging the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate in some capacity. Slatery joined the attorneys general of Ohio and Kentucky on Thursday in a lawsuit over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors. That lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Another lawsuit filed Friday by attorneys general in 11 states is challenging the vaccine requirement as it pertains to workers at companies with more than 100 employees. That lawsuit was filed in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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