“Once a vaccine has been administered, it can never be undone,” Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement announcing the move. “The COVID-19 vaccine mandate is one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberty, federalism, and the separation of powers by any administration in our country’s history.”
Arizona first sued in September after President Biden announced measures that will require federal workers and private sector workers in businesses with more than 100 employees be vaccinated or take a COVID test weekly. It is expected to affect more than 100 million Americans.
“We’ve been patient but our patience is wearing thin and your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said from the White House. “This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you.”
The moves have infuriated conservatives, who have called them unconstitutional and damaging to businesses.
The Arizona lawsuit focuses on the contrast between the mandates and the lack of mandate for those entering the country illegally via the U.S. southern border. The lawsuit argues that the mandate violates the Equal Protection Clause by allegedly favoring migrants who have come into the country illegally over American citizens.
More than 160,000 migrants have been released into the U.S. in recent months, and there has been mandatory vaccine requirement, nor a uniform testing requirement along the border.
On Friday, Brnovich’s office requested a temporary restraining order to immediately halt the mandates – arguing that it is necessary due to vaccination deadlines, which are likely to pass before the filing for a preliminary injunction is heard fully.
“The deadline for federal contractors to receive their first vaccine is approaching as early as Oct. 27, 2021, so time is of the essence,” the complaint says. “The deadline for federal employees to receive their first Pfizer or Moderna vaccine has already passed, but the November 8 deadline for them to receive their second dose (or their first and only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) is just weeks away.”
In an amended complaint filed alongside the request for a temporary restraining order, the AG argues that mandates violate the constitutional rights of workers and that it mandates the right to refuse vaccines available under Emergency Use Authorizations — only the Pfizer vaccine has so far been approved by the FDA.
It also argues that the mandates will cause “substantial harm to Arizona’s economy and to Arizona businesses that will either have to fire valuable employees or give up lucrative government contracts.”
It cited surveys that found that 85% of businesses said it would make retaining employees more difficult and 89% said some employees would quit.
Biden, however, has dismissed concerns about the mandate. On Thursday, he said that those who oppose vaccine mandates are attempting to make vaccines “a political issue.”
The president also scoffed at those who oppose vaccine mandates on the basis of “freedom.”
“I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID,” Biden said, mocking what he sees as the attitude of mandate opponents. “No, I mean, come on, freedom.”
Fox News’ Jon Brown contributed to this report.