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October 29, 2021

Media contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213

BISMARCK, ND – Today Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem joined a lawsuit against the Biden administration for imposing a vaccine mandate on federal contractors and federally contracted employees.

“As I have said before,” Stenehjem said, “I am pro-vaccination, but I am also pro-state’s rights and opposed to federal overreach.”  “The vaccine mandate in Executive Order 14042 is both contrary to federal law and unconstitutional.”      

The States’ Complaint, which includes twelve counts, alleges that the September 9, 2021, Executive Order requiring federal contractors to be vaccinated violates the Procurement Act, is an unlawful usurpation of states’ police powers, violates the Tenth Amendment and federalism, and is an unconstitutional exercise of the federal government’s spending power.

“As we said in September when the Biden administration rolled out its misguided plan, we stand opposed to blatant federal overreach, and we fully support Attorney General Stenehjem joining the challenge to this illegal vaccine mandate on federal contractors,” Governor Doug Burgum said. “Safe, effective vaccines are still our best tool for preserving hospital capacity and ensuring access to care, but this overly broad mandate is a sweeping intrusion on states’ traditional authority to guard and protect the health and safety of their citizens.”

The Complaint further alleges the contractor vaccine mandate will have deleterious effects on economy and inefficiency by "causing the large-scale resignations of unvaccinated employees of federal contractors. These disruptive consequences will directly oppose both ‘economy’ and ‘efficiency’.”

The scope of the federal contractor vaccine mandate is extremely broad.  The Complaint recognizes that, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, “workers employed by federal contractors” comprise roughly one-fifth of the entire U.S. labor force. The lawsuit notes, “On its face, the contractor vaccine mandate therefore applies to any employee of a contractor or subcontractor who is a party to a federal contract, even if the work they do is wholly unrelated to the contract, and even if it is not certain they will ever be working in a location with an employee who is actually working on a federal contract.”

The lawsuit, led by Missouri, asks the court to declare the vaccine mandate unlawful and enjoin defendants from enforcing the vaccine mandate.

Joining North Dakota and Missouri in the lawsuit are attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

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