Attorney General Knudsen sues Biden administration to stop illegal federal contractor vaccine mandate
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and nine other state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration for imposing an illegal vaccine mandate on federal contractors and federally contracted employees. The lawsuit takes issue with the Biden Administration’s use of federal procurement statutes to force injections on federal contractors and their employees through Executive Order 14042.
The September 9 executive order enacted by President Biden requiring federal contractors to be vaccinated violates the Procurement Act, violates the Procurement Policy Act, is an unlawful usurpation of states’ police powers, violates the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, is a procedural violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, is a substantive violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, is a substantive violation of the APA as an agency action not in accordance with law and in excess of authority, is a substantive violation of the APA as an agency action that is arbitrary and capricious and is in violation of notice-and-comment requirements, violates the separation of powers, and violates the Tenth Amendment and federalism, and is an unconstitutional exercise of the spending power. The lawsuit incorporates twelve counts.
“President Biden’s dictate attempting to force injections on employees at federally contracted businesses via executive order is illegal and a gross overreach into the lives of Montanans. Workers in our state don’t lose their rights just because their company happens to do some work for the federal government,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “My office has heard directly from employees and businesses across Montana who are concerned about their ability to continue to provide needed services to their communities if this mandate is allowed to take effect. I’ll keep fighting to protect their rights and prevent further economic catastrophe at the hands of President Biden.”
President Biden’s attempt to force injections on federally contracted employees is unconstitutional.
“Defendants, through their vaccine mandate, have exercised power far beyond what was delegated to the federal government by constitutional mandate or congressional action. Neither Article II of the U.S. Constitution nor any act of Congress authorizes defendants to implement their vaccine mandate. The power to impose vaccine mandates, to the extent that any such power exists, is a power reserved to the States,” the lawsuit states.
On the scope of the federal contractor vaccine mandate the lawsuit notes that, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, “workers employed by federal contractors” comprise roughly one-fifth of the entire U.S. labor force. The lawsuit notes, “On its face, the contractor vaccine mandate therefore applies to any employee of a contractor or subcontractor who is a party to a federal contract, even if the work they do is wholly unrelated to the contract, and even if it is not certain they will ever be working in a location with an employee who is actually working on a federal contract.”
“Far from increasing economy and efficiency in procurement, the contractor vaccine mandate will have deleterious effects on economy and inefficiency by causing the large-scale resignations of unvaccinated employees of federal contractors,” the lawsuit states regarding the APA claims. “These disruptive consequences will directly oppose both ‘economy’ and ‘efficiency.’”
The lawsuit asks the court to declare the vaccine mandate unlawful and enjoin the Biden administration from enforcing it.
The full lawsuit can be found here.
In addition to Attorney General Knudsen, attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming are part of the lawsuit.
Immediately following Biden’s September 9 speech, Attorney General Knudsen announced he would file a lawsuit when the federal rule was issued. Additionally, he and 23 other state attorneys general warned Biden that this “disastrous and counterproductive” mandate would only drive more Americans from the job market, further burdening the health care system and the economy.
Attorney General Knudsen also continues to fight two lawsuits challenging the new state anti-discrimination law established by House Bill 702. Last week, he filed for the dismissal of a meritless lawsuit against Montana’s vaccine passport ban. House Bill 702 remains the law in Montana.