A panel of three judges from a federal appeals court in Atlanta recognized the impact of COVID-19 pandemic-related contracting delays on the federal government but said it remains uncertain whether the current administration has the authority to implement a vaccine requirement for employees of federal contractors, Federal News Network reported Monday.
In December, a district court judge in Georgia blocked the Biden administration from implementing the vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
Judge William Pryor from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit said during the oral arguments Friday that the government may win the case in the Supreme Court.
Judge Lanier Anderson said a vaccination requirement would help facilitate continuity of operations and minimize work interruptions.
“A proprietor naturally wants to have his work done efficiently. And it’s entirely reasonable — in fact, it makes common sense and is consistent with common experience — that if you’re not vaccinated, there’s a much greater chance that you’re going to get sick and delay the work,” Anderson noted.
A Department of Justice attorney representing the administration urged the appeals court to reverse the nationwide injunction on the vaccine mandate since the Procurement Act gives the president an authority to impose the requirement, Bloomberg Law reported Saturday.
“It’s not our position that the president can do whatever he wishes, but it should be a nexus between economy and efficiency,” said DOJ attorney Joshua Revesz.
“This is a statute that allows the president to tell his own agencies what to do,” he said of the Procurement Act.
At least four appeals courts are considering the government’s federal contractor vaccination mandate.
On Thursday, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld the White House’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for federal employees in a 2-1 ruling.