(Jackson, MS): The Mississippi Justice Institute – a non-profit Constitutional litigation center and the legal arm of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy – filed suit today to challenge the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers.
The mandate, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requires private companies with more than 100 employees to ensure that all of their workers are either fully vaccinated by January 4th, 2022, or subject to weekly testing and mask-wearing. OSHA says "fully vaccinated" means that the employee has received two doses of Moderna or Pfizer's vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson's vaccine. The companies are subject to fines well over $13,000 per day for each employee that does not comply.
The Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI) represents Gulf Coast Restaurant Group, a corporate family of restaurants including Half Shell Oyster House and the Rackhouse. Attorney General Lynn Fitch represents the State of Mississippi in the suit. The lawsuit was filed by a coalition of states, including Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Utah, as well as private employers in several of those states.
“The Mississippi Justice Institute is proud to represent Gulf Coast Restaurant Group, and to partner with Attorney General Lynn Fitch to challenge this extraordinary federal overreach,” said MJI Director, Aaron Rice. “While we and our client are grateful for the development of the COVID vaccines, we cannot stand by while the federal government brazenly exceeds its constitutional authority and infringes on the individual liberties of Mississippi businesses and workers.”
"While I am personally pro-vaccination, I completely disagree with this policy,” said Kevin Fish, Vice President of Gulf Coast Restaurant Group. “It is completely arbitrary. This policy will place an unfair and unreasonable burden upon my staff simply because of the number of employees I have."
In addition to turning employers into federal vaccine enforcers, the regulation will also result in many leaving the workforce entirely. This would accelerate a trend that has devastated the nation’s economic growth in the wake of pandemic.
"The federal government has no business forcing Mississippi workers to get vaccinated or forcing Mississippi businesses to fire their employees,” said Rice. “This is still a free country. In America, we have presidents, not kings."
The lawsuit was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
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