Federal judge in South Georgia halts Biden vaccine mandate for contractors

ATLANTA — A federal judge in South Georgia has temporarily halted President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for contractors who do business with the government.

The judge said Georgia and six other states would likely succeed in their lawsuit, alleging the president exceeded his authority in his executive order.

The federal government is mandating contractors and sub-contractors it does business with to make sure its workers are fully vaccinated.

Judge R. Stan Baker in his ruling said this is not about the vaccines. He said while the public has a strong interest in combatting the virus, the interest does not permit the government to act unlawfully.

When asked about the ruling, people here in metro Atlanta had mixed feelings. Maria Kreighbaum is very clear about how she feels about the mandates.

“I think everyone should make their own choice about what they want to do with their health, their body,” she told Channel 2′s Tom Jones. “I’m vaccinated, but I don’t think the government should make people do that.”

Another woman who did not identify herself told Jones that she is a biomedical engineer who works in the industry that creates the vaccines, and she sees the issue differently. She wonders why this effective vaccine is so controversial.

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“Why do all of the current employees who are against that, why are they vaccinated for polio, for tetanus, for measles, for mumps, for Rubella? Like, that’s mandated. What’s wrong with the COVID one?” she said.

The state of Georgia along with other states filed a lawsuit to stop the Biden administration from implementing the vaccine mandates, calling the order government overreach and unconstitutional.

Baker temporarily halted the mandates nationwide Tuesday afternoon, saying the states will likely succeed in their claim the president exceeded the authorization given to him by Congress.

Immediately after the ruling, Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted, “Georgia is now 3 for 3 in our fight against Biden’s unconstitutional mandates.”

Attorney General Chris Carr tweeted, “Georgia will continue to stand up for the rule of law.”

The mandates were supposed to go into effect Jan. 4.

The White House press secretary said the administration is confident in its legal ability to implement mandates and said these measures protect the federal contractors’ workforce, their customers and communities.

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