NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A second set of states that includes Utah has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers.
The latest suit, dated Nov. 15, was filed in Louisiana on behalf of 12 states and came less than a week after another lawsuit challenging the rule was filed in Missouri by a coalition of 10 states.
"The federal government will not impose medical tyranny on Louisiana’s people without my best fight," Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a news release announcing the lawsuit.
Both lawsuits say the vaccine mandate threatens to drive away health care workers who refuse to get vaccinated at a time when such workers are badly needed. They also contend the rule issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services violates federal law and unconstitutionally encroaches on powers reserved to the states.
The Louisiana lawsuit quotes from Friday's order by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocking a broader Biden administration vaccine mandate that businesses with more than 100 workers require employees to be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or wear masks and be tested weekly for COVID-19.
Borrowing language from the 5th Circuit, the Louisiana lawsuit calls the health care worker vaccine requirement a “one-size-fits-all” sledgehammer. In addition to Louisiana, the suit covers Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.
The Missouri suit includes Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
The Biden administration has not yet filed responses in either of the suits.
The Louisiana-based lawsuit was assigned to U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, an appointee of President Donald Trump. Any appeals of a Doughty decision would go to the 5th Circuit.