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Landry commits to challenging federal employer vaccine mandate in court

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry holds a news conference Thursday, March 4, 2021. (David Jacobs / The Center Square)

By William Patrick | The Center Square

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said he will challenge President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 employer vaccine mandate in court if it’s implemented in Louisiana.

Biden’s mandate will apply to businesses with 100 or more employees, be implemented through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and come with potential $14,000 fines per violation. 


Landry blasted the proposal in a strongly worded social media statement.

“The decision of an individual to get a COVID shot is not the President’s to make. If Biden attempts to mandate it upon Louisiana citizens, I will challenge his unconstitutional overreach in court,” he said.

Landry has been an outspoken opponent of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, particularly as a condition of attending Louisiana colleges and universities. He maintains students and residents should have the right to choose.

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, holds a similar view. Kennedy also issued a statement on social media.

“I believe the vaccine works and have taken it myself, but I also believe in freedom and civil rights, more importantly. All the Biden vaccine mandate does is politicize the issue and sow even more distrust towards the federal government. Freedom should always win out,” Kennedy tweeted Friday afternoon.

Louisiana’s other U.S. senator, Republican Bill Cassidy, is a medical doctor and critic of the president’s sweeping attempt to increase the country’s COVID-19 vaccination rate.

“President Biden should not mandate private businesses with no connection to the federal government (to) mandate their employees get vaccinated. That is an issue between the employer [and] employee. I am for vaccinations, I am not for the federal government dictating how we live our lives,” Cassidy tweeted.

Biden announced the policy Thursday, saying unvaccinated Americans “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said. “This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you, the people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards has not commented on the employer mandate, which the state’s largest business association opposes. Edwards has supported voluntary employer vaccine mandates, such as at Our Lady of the Lake hospital in Baton Rouge.

Edwards also vetoed three bills in July that would have limited COVID-19 vaccine mandates, including a bill that would have prevented state and local government agencies from discriminating against the unvaccinated.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, federal anti-discrimination laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, as long as employers comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other anti-discrimination considerations.

Landry has openly feuded with Edwards regarding the governor’s statewide indoor mask mandate, which applies to K-12 students. Landry went so far as to post religious and philosophical opt-out templates for mask and vaccine mandates on his Facebook page.

The Biden administration policy requires workers to receive two doses of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved Pfizer vaccine to be fully vaccinated, or submit to weekly testing. Governors and attorney generals in more than half of U.S. states stand opposed. 

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