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Biden vaccine mandate, challenged by Texas, is halted by federal appeals court

The three-judge panel issued a brief ruling Saturday morning, saying the petitioners "give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues."

DALLAS — A federal appeals court has halted President Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses, citing "grave statutory and constitutional issues" with the order as it issued a temporary stay in a ruling Saturday morning.

Texas officials are among petitioners who sued the Biden Administration's mandate in court Friday, appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

The three-judge panel issued a brief ruling Saturday morning, saying the petitioners "give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate," which was issued this week.

The court gave the U.S. government until 5 p.m. Monday to respond to the stay. 

Biden's mandate, which would require workers at companies with more than 100 employees to get fully vaccinated or be tested weekly, was set to go into effect Jan. 4.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the appeals court ruling Saturday.

"We will have our day in court to strike down Biden's unconstitutional abuse of authority," Abbott said in a tweet.

Paxton, in all caps, tweeted, "WE WON." 

"The fight is not over and I will never stop resisting this Admin's unconstitutional overreach!" Paxton said.

Biden's mandate applied to 84 million workers at mid-size and large companies. 

The rules issued Thursday required that private-sector companies with 100 or more workers must require their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly and wear masks on the job.

The requirements under the mandate would go into effect Jan. 4. under an emergency temporary standard from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Biden noted that businesses that have already imposed mandates on their employees, along with requirements for the military and federal contractors, have cut the number of unvaccinated Americans over age 12 from 100 million in late July to about 60 million.