TAMPA, Fla (AP) — A federal judge in Florida on Wednesday blocked President Joe Biden’s requirement for federal contractors to receive coronavirus vaccines, adding to a series of legal setbacks for the mandate.
U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday wrote that Florida’s lawsuit against the rule demonstrated a “substantial likelihood” that the White House did not have authority to set the requirement.
The preliminary injunction in Florida comes after a federal judge in Georgia this month had already blocked enforcement of the rule nationwide. Judges in Missouri and Kentucky have issued similar rulings.
The decision marks the one of the latest victories for Republican-led states challenging Biden’s vaccine mandates, which the White House argues are necessary to protect Americans during the pandemic. Florida, along with other GOP states, conservative organizations and businesses, have also filed suit against White House vaccine mandates for health care workers and companies with more than 100 employees.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has railed against Biden’s pandemic policies and recently signed legislation that forces businesses to let workers opt out of coronavirus vaccine mandates. DeSantis is running for reelection and is widely considered to be mulling a 2024 presidential run.
The requirement for federal contractors stems from a September executive order issued by Biden in September. Florida sued the following month.
Separately, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday said it will hold a special session in just over two weeks to weigh challenges to the White House vaccine requirements for businesses and health care workers.