Vaccination mandate challenges consolidated

FILE - A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Clalit Health Service in Jerusalem on August 1, 2021. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

A Cincinnati-based federal appeals court will handle consolidated challenges from across the country to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule that would require tens of millions of workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be regularly tested and wear masks. 

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will review the challenges, which include a case that Florida, Georgia, and Alabama filed this month. 

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order Tuesday consolidating cases that had been filed in 12 circuits. The order said the panel randomly selected the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which typically hears cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, to handle the litigation. 

The OSHA rule, which is slated to take effect on Jan. 4, would apply to employers with 100 or more workers. Those workers would have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative at least once a week and wear masks.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals -- which hears cases from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas -- has placed a stay on the OSHA rule. But the stay does not resolve the underlying legal issues in the case. 

Florida, Georgia, and Alabama and other plaintiffs, including two Florida Christian schools, filed their challenge in the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Among other things, they contend the Biden administration overstepped its legal authority in issuing the rule.

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