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Biden tells legal challengers to ‘have at it’ after announcing vaccine mandate

As Republican governors sharply criticize President Biden’s new vaccine rules and promise legal challenges, he’s encouraging them to “have at it.” 

Biden on Thursday announced he’s directing the Labor Department to require businesses with more than 100 employees to require workers show proof of vaccination or get tested for COVID-19 weekly, prompting pushback from Republican governors. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) promised to “pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration,” while South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) tweeted at Biden, “See you in court.” 

To those threatening legal action, Biden responded Friday, “Have at it.” He added that he’s “so disappointed” with Republican governors who have been “so cavalier” with the “health of their communities,” adding, “This isn’t a game.” Biden also argued that scientists universally agree that his six-step plan for fighting the pandemic, which includes the vaccine mandates for employers, makes “considerable sense.” 

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As far as whether the legal challenges will succeed, vaccine law expert Brian Dean Abramson predicted to Insider that “we’re not going to see a suspension of this rule,” while constitutional law professor Erwin Chemerinsky argued to Law&Crime, “There is no constitutional problem with requiring people be vaccinated.” Conservative commentator David French also tweeted that that since the Supreme Court has “allowed Congress to delegate lots of its lawmaking power,” it’s “far from certain” the court would strike down Biden’s mandate. 

But CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Friday said there are “legitimate” questions as to whether Biden has the authority to implement his vaccine rules, though Toobin noted they’re difficult to answer before the actual regulation has been released. 

“These are not frivolous concerns on the part of these Republican governors, but it’s not also clear that they’re going to win,” Toobin said. “It’s an unsettled legal question.”