Following a ruling by the district court, the appeals court has extended a block on the presidential candidate from mandating vaccinations for employees.
Federal Appeals Court rules to block Obama health aide from requiring employees to get flu shots Read more
On Thursday, the US appeals court affirmed a ruling by the district court, which ruled that former health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius was not within her power to order an exemption from vaccinations for certain groups, including those who do not wish to go against their religious or philosophical beliefs.
In a news release, legal experts said the decision highlighted the need for the US supreme court to resolve “religious neutrality” issues, because neither Congress nor the supreme court has yet addressed whether policies that exempt religious beliefs fall within the protection of the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.
Officials for Biden, a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2020, have said he respects the right of employees to not vaccinate their children. However, he wants to set a greater standard for employees, including those who don’t feel it is necessary for their children to be vaccinated. The public health risks from vaccine hesitancy, Biden has argued, outweigh concerns over ethics.
Biden was working as health and human services secretary in 2010 when the secretary of health and human services issued the proposed regulations. He voted against the regulations, and argued that they are arbitrary and subjective. The case before the appeals court challenged the legality of immunizing potential employees of government contractors.
Bill Fletcher, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago School of Law, described the decision as “a profound victory for the rights of individuals to ignore the government in setting personal religious or other beliefs about their health and livelihood, and a triumph for the constitutional balance” between the right to exercise one’s religion and that of the government.