A three-judge panel with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a stay on a federal vaccine mandate. The mandate, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, requires all companies with at least 100 employees to require all of their employees to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear masks at their workplace. It is set to take effect on January 4.
Over two dozen states have filed lawsuits in six different appeals courts across the country.
The court signaled that it is skeptical of the government's argument about the constitutionality of the mandate.
"On the dubious assumption that the mandate does pass constitutional muster, which we need not decide today, it is nonetheless fatally flawed on its own terms," the court wrote.
Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt said it "is firmly in the public interest" to prevent the law from taking effect while the case makes its way through the legal system.
"From economic uncertainty to workplace strife, the mere specter of the Mandate has contributed to untold economic upheaval in recent months," wrote.
"The public interest is also served by maintaining our constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals to make intensely personal decisions according to their own convictions - even, or perhaps particularly, when those decisions frustrate government officials," he added.
The Justice Department said it will continue to defend the legality of the mandate.
"This decision is just the beginning of the process for review of this important OSHA standard," a spokesperson told Fox News. "The Department will continue to vigorously defend the standard and looks forward to obtaining a definitive resolution following consolidation of all of the pending cases for further review."