WASHINGTON, D.C. (KLFY) – The state of Louisiana is at the center of the challenges against federal COVID vaccine mandates.
Question: Does the federal government have the power to order private businesses and health care workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19?
The government says yes. The plaintiffs say no. Either way this plays out could shape the course of the pandemic in the United States.
Justices will now decide whether or not the Biden administration can impose a Covid vaccine requirement for employees and health care workers.
“You have to be there. You have to be there eight hours a day. You have to be there in the exact environment the workplace is set up with,” said Associate Justice Elena Kagan. “You have to be there with a bunch of people you don’t know, and who might be completely irresponsible. Where else do people have a greater risk than at the workplace?”
“The problem here is its scope, and that there’s not differentiation between the risks faced by the unvaccinated 22 year olds and unvaccinated 60 year olds, or industries,” said Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Back in November, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans blocked the vaccine mandate for business with 100 employees or more. Attorney General Jeff Landry, and grocery store chain owner Brandon Trosclair, filed suit against it.
“I’m a grocery guy. I’m not the vaccine police,” said Trosclair. “It’s not the government’s right to put me in a position for the everyday medical decisions of my employees. They should not be put in a position to have a vaccine or potentially lose their job, where they can not take care of the well-being of their families.”
Also in November, the state of Louisiana and 11 other states sued the Biden administration over the Covid vaccine mandate for health care workers at facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds. Landry says the court’s decision is very important to the future of America.
“This is about individual liberty,” said Landry. “This is about the breadth of the federal government reach into your lives. Whether or not the federal government can mandate medical procedures, such as a vaccine, on you. They can do it in a coercive manner to threaten your job.”
This will be one of the biggest case decisions so far for Justice Barrett, a native of New Orleans. Barrett was nominated by former President Trump, and confirmed to sit on the high court in 2020.