Kentucky, other AGs sue over federal contractor vaccine mandate

Lawsuit filed in federal court with Ohio, Tennessee

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a lawsuit, joined by Ohio and Tennessee, challenging the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors.  The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, asserts that the Administration’s mandatory vaccination requirement is unlawful and unconstitutional.

“The federal government contracts with private businesses and public agencies in states across the country, and the Commonwealth is no exception, meaning that numerous Kentuckians are subject to the Biden Administration’s vaccination requirement,” said Cameron.  “We are taking the issue of federal overreach seriously and will protect the livelihoods of countless Kentuckians and Kentucky businesses from overbroad mandates.”

In the lawsuit, the attorneys general outline the harm they say the mandate will cause for their states.

Nationwide, the Department of Labor reports that federal contractors account for approximately one-fifth of the country’s entire labor force. In fiscal year 2021, the federal government awarded $9.3 billion across 32,465 contracts for work done in Kentucky. The coalition of attorneys general argue that the potential workforce loss among federal contractors presents a significant concern for the economies of their states and could exacerbate ongoing supply chain issues.

In Kentucky, multiple local jails contract with the United States Justice Department to detain, house, and transport federal prisoners.  Vaccination is encouraged at these facilities but not required, meaning that under the Biden Administration’s mandate, unvaccinated Kentucky workers at these facilities will be forced to receive the vaccine or lose their job.

As a result, the facilities could be faced with the choice between increased worker shortages and the accompanying threat to public safety or the possibility of losing their federal contracts, which provide a significant funding source for each of the facilities.

The attorneys general further argue the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate violates state sovereignty by preventing the states from exercising their police power to establish laws regarding workforce vaccination policies.

The attorneys general also contend the mandate is unconstitutional because Congress did not give the President authority to issue such a broad mandate. The coalition writes “the imposed mandates are unconstitutional because Congress did not articulate a clear principle by legislative act that directs the Executive to take sweeping action that infringes on state and individual rights.”

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