Arizona first state to file suit against Biden vaccine mandate

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Arizona on Tuesday became the first US state to file suit against President Joe Biden’s Covid vaccination mandate for federal employees and businesses with more than 100 employees.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, announced the filing of the suit against what he described as an “unconstitutional” move by the Democratic president.

“The federal government cannot force people to get the Covid-19 vaccine,” Brnovich said in a statement. “The Biden Administration is once again flouting our laws and precedents to push their radical agenda.”

In the suit, the attorney general argued that the vaccine mandate violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution by “favoring” migrants who have unlawfully entered the country over US citizens.

“Migrants who cross the southern border illegally are not subject to any vaccination requirements even when released directly into the United States,” Brnovich said.

“This reflects an unmistakable — and unconstitutional — brand of favoritism in favor of illegal migrants.”

The attorney general of Arizona, which borders Mexico, asked a US District Court to declare the vaccination mandate unconstitutional.

A number of Republican governors have vowed to fight the vaccination mandate.

Asked last week about legal challenges to the strict new vaccination rules, a defiant Biden said: “Have at it.”

Biden’s vaccination mandate comes as the Delta variant has sent Covid cases surging across the country.

Announcing the move, Biden addressed the estimated 80 million eligible Americans who have not yet gotten the shot against a disease that has left 650,000 people dead in the United States.

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” the 78-year-old president said. “And your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing.”

Biden’s plan mandates vaccinations for all federal employees and contractors and businesses with more than 100 employees. Companies could face fines if they do not comply.

© Agence France-Presse