The Phoenix Flyer

DeSantis surprised, disappointed over vaccine-related court case that gave Biden a victory

By: - December 16, 2021 12:37 pm

Gov. Ron DeSantis at a news conference in Nassau County, Dec. 16, 2021. Credit: Governor’s Facebook page.

Gov. Ron DeSantis took time during a news conference about transportation, education and the trucking industry on Thursday to show surprise and disappointment about the Biden administration vaccine mandates winding through the national court system.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New Orleans on Wednesday “lifted a nationwide ban against President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for health care workers, instead blocking the requirement in only certain states and creating the potential for patchwork enforcement across the country,” according to the Associated Press.

“Also Wednesday, the Cincinnati-based U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said a three-judge panel — rather than the entire court — would rule on a challenge to the Biden administration’s mandate that all private employers with at least 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or wear masks and face weekly tests,” the AP wrote.

“That decision is a victory for the Biden administration, which had pushed back against efforts to have all the judges in the panel initially involved… The vote in the 6th Circuit was split, with eight judges wanting the entire panel to hear the case and eight wanting it to stay with three judges.”

On Thursday, DeSantis launched into a discussion about the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals case, concerned about “additional threats” to the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates.

“You had the OSHA mandate that they had put in or tried to put in that would have taken affect in early January and that would have upended a lot of things, but particularly we’re talking about trucking,” DeSantis said.

“You talk to the trucking association, 30 percent of the truckers ain’t going to do this. And they’re not going to pay to be tested every week out of their own pocket. You would absolutely lose some of the truckers at a very important time if that were to go into effect.”

That said, DeSantis said the case has “been stayed; it’s been consolidated in the 6th circuit, and I think ultimately it will go down, but there was a decision yesterday to not hear it from the full 6th circuit. I was a little bit surprised to see that.

“So you could have in the intervening a three judge panel, maybe reinstated or maybe even ruled for it. Once it goes to the full 6th circuit, you know I am very, very confident it will go down.

“But that could happen. We’ll see. They should have just taken it as the full court, decided it on an expedited basis and then we could have just moved on. But they chose not to do that. They deadlocked 8-8 on whether the full court should hear it initially. I know that’s typically not their practice. And maybe some judges felt that way.

“But you know, there’s a lot that could potentially be riding on this.

“And if they were to reverse the stay or reverse the injunction. Boy. You have a lot of private businesses; now we have protections in Florida law which we’re proud that we have done.

“But I just think the full court should have heard that. So, we’re watching that. It was a little disappointing to see.”

The court cases on vaccine mandates come as a health officials remain concerned about the new omicron variant that has spread globally and in the United States.

Omicron has been detected in 36 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, according to The New York Times tracking map.

The states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

DeSantis held the news conference to award more than $3.1 million to establish the Nassau County Transportation Education Institute — a commercial driving facility — at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.