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Appeals court cites WH chief of staff's Twitter activity in handing Biden another loss on vaccine mandate

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White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Is a "retweet" by White House chief of staff Ron Klain partly responsible for President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate taking another loss in federal court?

What happened?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit again ruled against President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate Friday.

According to the court, the mandate — which is enforced as an emergency temporary standard via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — is "likely unconstitutional."

The court explained:

The Constitution vests a limited legislative power in Congress. For more than a century, Congress has routinely used this power to delegate policymaking specifics and technical details to executive agencies charged with effectuating policy principles Congress lays down. In the mine run of cases—a transportation department regulating trucking on an interstate highway, or an aviation agency regulating an airplane lavatory—this is generally well and good. But health agencies do not make housing policy, and occupational safety administrations do not make health policy.

In seeking to do so here, OSHA runs afoul of the statute from which it draws its power and, likely, violates the constitutional structure that safeguards our collective liberty.

What about Klain's Twitter activity?

The panel of three appellate court justices indicated they believed the Biden administration is seeking to use OSHA to enact its COVID vaccine mandate as a "work-around" for the federal government's glaring lack of legal authority to enforce such a broad mandate.

Their perspective toward the Biden administration's motive was located in a footnote in the court opinion. In that footnote, the court cited a "retweet" by Klain.

The footnote read:

On September 9, 2021, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain retweeted MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle's tweet that stated, "OSHA doing this vaxx mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is the ultimate work-around for the Federal govt to require vaccinations." See, e.g., Pet'rs Burnett Specialists, Choice Staffing, LLC, and Staff Force Inc.'s Reply Brief at 4 (emphasis added).

The footnote was connected to "work-around" in what the court wrote, "After the President voiced his displeasure with the country's vaccination rate in September, the Administration pored over the U.S. Code in search of authority, or a 'work-around,' for imposing a national vaccine mandate. The vehicle it landed on was an OSHA ETS."

Anything else?

At the time that Klain retweeted Ruhle, it was predicted that Klain would regret essentially endorsing what Ruhle said.

It looks like that prediction has come true.

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