Former President Donald Trump worked hard to re-shape the federal judiciary, and now his work is paying off under the Biden administration.
Today a federal court temporarily halted the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health workers at hospitals that receive federal funding, The Hill reported.
Judge Matthew Schelp of the Eastern District of Missouri issued the preliminary injunction for workers throughout 10 states at facilities that are certified for Medicare and Medicaid. The states are Iowa, Alaska, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota.
These 10 states had already sued the Biden administration, arguing that the vaccine mandate was unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was led by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, NPR reported.
“Unfortunately, with this latest mandate from the Biden Administration, last year’s healthcare heroes are turning into this year’s unemployed. Requiring healthcare workers to get a vaccination or face termination is unconstitutional and unlawful, and could exacerbate healthcare staffing shortages to the point of collapse, especially in Missouri’s rural areas,” Schmitt said in a news release.
“My Office has been, and will continue to be, a national leader in challenging the Biden Administration’s illegal edicts, and this instance is our latest effort to push back on this unprecedented federal overreach.”
Now Schelp is in these states’ corner.
Schelp was nominated by Trump on Dec. 2, 2019. He was then confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 12, 2020, with a 72-23 vote, according to Ballotpedia.
Schelp wrote in his ruling that the public would benefit from this decision “because it would ensure that federal agencies do not extend their power beyond the express delegation from Congress.”
He said that the mandate would actually put a burden on health facilities that could hinder their ability to save lives.
“The scale falls clearly in favor of healthcare facilities operating with some unvaccinated employees, staff, trainees, students, volunteers, and contractors, rather than the swift, irremediable impact of requiring healthcare facilities to choose between two undesirable choices — providing substandard care or providing no healthcare at all,” Schelp wrote in his ruling.
Schelp, however, is not the only one of Trump’s appointed judges to challenge the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate.
On Nov. 13, Rolling Stone reported that three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, two appointed by Trump, one appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, allowed a ban to stay in place that blocked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine mandate from going into effect.
Stemming from a lawsuit filed in early November, Judge Kurt Engelhardt, a Trump appointee, wrote that the mandate “threatens to decimate [companies’] workforces (and business prospects) by forcing unwilling employees to take their shots, take their tests, or hit the road.”
This is all the fruit of Trump’s efforts to shape the federal courts. He appointed an unprecedented number of conservative judges to the bench and now this is the result. He particularly focused on the appellate courts which often have the final word on most legal appeals all around the country.
As he got ready to leave office, Pew Research noted just how significant his remolding of the judiciary had been.
“Donald Trump leaves the White House having appointed more than 200 judges to the federal bench, including nearly as many powerful federal appeals court judges in four years as Barack Obama appointed in eight,” Pew Research reported in Jauary.
While Trump did not appoint as many judges overall as previous presidents (former President Barack Obama appointed 320 in eight years and former President George W. Bush appointed 322), his focus on the 13 federal appeals courts brought immense shifts.
“Trump appointed 54 federal appellate judges in four years, one short of the 55 Obama appointed in twice as much time,” Pew Research reported.
With Trump’s reshaping of some of the nation’s most powerful courts, he partially enabled the battles that are going on today against the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. Though President Joe Biden’s executive reach is strong, having powerful judges on the conservative side of the vaccine issue could be a real gain for medical freedom and choice.