A federal appeals court in New Orleans has blocked President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring federal employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, rejecting arguments that the president has the same authority as the CEO of a private corporation to require employee vaccinations. The ruling from the full appeals court, 16 full-time judges at the time the case was argued, upholds a preliminary injunction issued by a federal judge in January 2022, blocking the mandate. However, the case will return to court for further arguments as both sides will grapple with the White House’s announcement that the COVID emergency will end on May 11, 2023. Biden issued this executive order in September 2021 requiring vaccinations for all executive branch agency employees, with exceptions for medical and religious reasons, and the requirement kicked in the following November. Opponents argued that it was an encroachment on federal workers’ lives that was not authorized by the Constitution or federal statutes.

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