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(U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Cir., Mar. 23, 2023): Feds for Medical Freedom, a non-profit organization comprised of various federal agency employees, challenged two Presidential Executive Orders on COVID-19 vaccination. One order required all federal employees to be vaccinated, with those failing to comply facing termination, while the other imposed the same requirements and potential consequences on federal contractors. Feds alleged that both mandates were arbitrary and violated the Administrative Procedure Act. A federal district court refused to block the contractor mandate, as it had already been blocked nationally in separate litigation, but did block the federal employee mandate. The Biden administration appealed, arguing that federal courts do not have jurisdiction to hear these challenges because of exclusive procedures and remedies available to federal employees under the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA). The full Fifth Circuit judicial panel upheld the district court’s order, finding the CSRA does not prevent federal employees from challenging a federal law on the grounds that the law was passed without authority or is otherwise unconstitutional. CSRA exclusivity applies only where an employee is challenging a negative employment action already taken. Read the full decision here.

View all cases in Judicial Trends in Public Health – May 16, 2023

View all cases in “Preventing and Treating Communicable Conditions.”