FILE - Judge's gavel and federal law books

(The Center Square) – A ban on requiring federal contractors in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee to be vaccinated against COVID-19 remains in place after a federal appeals court upheld an injunction imposed in November.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld an earlier ban with a 2-1 ruling earlier this week, but the ruling impacts only those three states.

A federal judge in Georgia issued a nationwide ban on the same mandate last month. The legal challenge argued that President Joe Biden’s mandates violated the Constitution by overstepping the executive's power.

Biden announced in early September sweeping new COVID-19 vaccination mandates that would force millions of unvaccinated Americans, including federal contractors, to receive the vaccine, undergo weekly testing or lose their jobs.

Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee filed their lawsuit Nov. 4, claiming the federal contractor vaccination mandate was unlawful and unconstitutional, and it could cause a workforce loss that would be a significant concern for the economies of many states, which could lead to more supply chain issues.

“We are pleased that the Sixth Circuit decided to leave the district court’s order in place and continue halting the federal contractor vaccine mandate," Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said. "This ensures, while the case continues to proceed, that federal contractors in Kentucky aren’t subject to the Biden Administration’s unlawful mandate.”

Federal contractors account for one-fifth of the country’s workforce, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said $10.2 billion worth of federal contracts were performed in Kentucky in 2020, and $9.9 billion worth of federal contracts were held by vendors located in Kentucky, including numerous state agencies.

Ohio had $8.9 billion worth of federal contracts, and $12.5 billion worth of federal contracts held by companies in the state. In Tennessee, there were $10.2 billion worth of federal contracts and $10 billion worth of contracts held by vendors in the state.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.