Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced in a statement Tuesday that the state is suing President Joe Biden “and other officials in his administration” over the new coronavirus vaccine mandates Biden announced last week.
“Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced his office (AGO) is suing President Biden and other officials in his administration over their unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees, federal contractors, and private businesses with more than 100 employees. This is the first lawsuit in the country to be filed against the Biden Administration’s radical actions requiring COVID-19 vaccines,” the news release said.
In a call with reporters, Brnovich, who’s a Republican and running for a US Senate seat, said that “there is an uncertainty, a confusion, as to what the president can or can’t do” and that he would protect the Constitution against “federal overreach.”
CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said the rush to file a lawsuit could cause problems for Arizona, since federal agencies have not yet written the specific rules for the vaccine mandate.
“It’s a complex question about whether the regulation for the 100-plus-employee companies is permissible, but you can’t answer that question until you see the actual regulation,” said Toobin. “I don’t think that this issue is a slam dunk either way. But it is a slam dunk that you can’t file a lawsuit against a regulation that doesn’t exist yet.”
Brnovich said the lawsuit was the first attempt to sue Biden for “overreach on its Covid rules” and suggested reading the Federalist Papers, which argue that a balance of power is necessary between states and the national government.
Brnovich posted a short, taped message on his Facebook and Twitter accounts saying that “we have filed a lawsuit today against the unprecedented and unconstitutional power grab by the Biden administration. … The Biden administration is unconstitutionally trying to mandate vaccines that may affect hundreds of millions of Americans. It’s totally wrong; it’s unconstitutional.”
In the emailed statement, Brnovich said, “The federal government cannot force people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Biden Administration is once again flouting our laws and precedents to push their radical agenda.”
The President imposed stringent new vaccine rules Thursday on federal workers, large employers and health care staff in a sweeping attempt to contain the latest surge of Covid-19.
The new requirements could apply to as many as 100 million Americans, which is nearly two-thirds of the American workforce. The President has directed the Labor Department to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested once a week. Companies could face thousands of dollars in fines per employee if they don’t comply.
The regulations have faced criticism from other Republican governors, including Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who on Tuesday told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “Erin Burnett OutFront” that the new rules “will harden the hesitancy” some people have to getting vaccinated.
This story has been updated with background information.
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