Texas judge blocks Biden’s vaccination mandate for federal workers as ‘a bridge too far’

A health worker prepares a vaccine dose
A reported 98% of federal workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since President Biden’s order took effect in November.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

A federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction on Friday barring the federal government from enforcing President Biden’s order that federal workers without qualifying medical or religious exemptions be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Judge Jeffrey Brown, appointed by former President Trump, ruled that opponents of Biden’s vaccination mandate for federal employees were likely to succeed at trial and blocked the government from enforcing the order.

Biden announced in September that more than 3.5 million federal workers would be required to undergo vaccination unless they secured approved medical or religious exemptions. The requirement took effect in November, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that 98% of federal workers had been vaccinated.

“We are confident in our legal authority here,” she added.

The bill is the first to be introduced this year by a group of Democratic lawmakers pledging to strengthen vaccination laws and target misinformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those out of compliance with the policy were referred to counseling and could be terminated under an executive order signed by Biden.


Brown wrote that at issue was whether the president “can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment.”

He added: “That, under the current state of the law as just recently expressed by the Supreme Court, is a bridge too far.”

The Justice Department said it would appeal the ruling.

The suit was brought by the group Feds for Medical Freedom.