AG Mark Brnovich

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaks at a press conference last week.

PHOENIX -- Attorney General Mark Brnovich is filing suit in a bid to block the Biden administration from imposing a vaccine mandate on workers.

In an announcement Tuesday, Brnovich contends that the move is illegal. He said questions of health, safety and welfare are left to the state.

“The president has no authority under the constitution to even attempt to issue any rules that would require a vaccine,’’ he said.

But while Brnovich lashes out at the president, he also appears to be setting the stage to challenge the power that Congress has given the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ensure that employees nationwide have safe places to work.

It is not Biden who is issuing an edict that workers of companies of 100 or more either be vaccinated or be tested at least weekly for covid-19. Instead, the president is directing OSHA to promulgate rules to protect workers against infection.

Attorneys interviewed by Capitol Media Services all said that vaccination requirements appear to be within OSHA’s powers. But Brnovich appears unconvinced.

“Stay tuned for the next lawsuit,’’ he said. “I do think there are some serious questions as it relates to ... the ability of OSHA to promulgate certain rules.’’

But Brnovich sidestepped the question of whether, based on his arguments of the rights of states, he believes Arizona employers are free to ignore other OSHA regulations like helmets for worksites and masks to protect against hazardous fumes.

“When you talk about OSHA rules, you’re talking about congressional statutes and how those are implemented,’’ he said. “That’s a little bit of a different constitutional question.’’

The attorney general, who is running for U.S. Senate, also is attempting to link this issue with his ongoing spat with the Biden administration over what he claims is the refusal to enforce immigration laws.

“Specifically, the Biden administration has disclaimed any COVID-19 vaccination requirements for unauthorized aliens, even those being released directly into the United States,’’ his lawsuit states. “Instead, the Biden administration has announced multiple, unprecedented federal mandates requiring U.S. citizens to be vaccinated against COVID-19, upon pain of losing their jobs or their livelihood.’’

That, he contends, violates equal protection provisions of the Constitution.

The fact that this is about immigration is underlined by Brnovich naming not just the president as a defendant in his lawsuit but also various officials of the Department of Homeland Security, none of whom have anything to do with vaccine requirements.

More to the point, it does not name OSHA or its officials, with Brnovich acknowledging there is nothing to challenge as no actual rule has yet been proposed.

This isn’t Brnovich’s first fight over immigration with the Democratic president. But various other lawsuits he has filed over everything from rules about who can be admitted to enforcing regulations about prompt deportation of those not here legally have been thrown out by federal judges.

In announcing the litigation, Brnovich said this is all about constitutional principles.

“This is a heavy-handed attempt by the federal government that shows government at its worst, not its best,’’ he said. Brnovich said that Biden is attempting to impose something on the American people that is not within the rights he is granted under the Constitution.

“His administration is undermining federalism and undermining the 50 laboratories of democracy,’’ he continued. “It’s a power grab that has never been attempted by any administration in the history of our republic.’’

There is a 1905 U.S. Supreme court case which upheld the power of states to enforce vaccine requirements on citizens. In that case, the justices concluded that the view of individual liberty is not absolute and is subject to the police power of the state.

Brnovich said that buttresses his argument that concept of questions of health and welfare being left to the individual power of the states.

Federalism aside, he said, the penalty for refusal amounted to a $5 fine, the equivalent of $150 today.

“And so I would submit to you the notion that the federal government is going to force people to lose their jobs, fine businesses $14,000 and destroy someone’s livelihood is a lot different than paying a $5 fine.

The White House has defended the mandate, and not only based on the power of OSHA to issue rules to protect employees from being infected by coworkers who may not be vaccinated. The president has lashed out at those who refuse to get inoculated, saying they are endangering the health of others, including those who cannot get vaccinated like children younger than 12.

Brnovich, in not waiting until OSHA actually proposed a rule, may have been in a rush to be the first to get into federal court. Republican governors and attorneys generals of other states already have made statements that they intend to sue.

The announcement comes on the heels of Brnovich concluding that a Tucson ordinance requiring its workers to be vaccinated or suspended without pay is illegal. He contends that it violates a law approved earlier this year by the legislature even though that provision actually has yet to take effect.


(14) comments


Just get the damn shot.

Joe Nobody

He's running for office and pandering; I thought only the Libs pander?

Hey, remember he certified AZ's fraudulent election?


Why do Republican hate people so much they will actually kill their constituents rather than allow them to be protected?


Bigbob go climb back under your rock.


wanderer - I don't own a "rock." But thank you for your cogent and substantive comment.


BB - I have similar thoughts when parents don't want their children vaccinated.


That's just silly making a comment that Republicans hate people so much that they want them dead! Big Bob I think you just like to stir the pot. Nobody in their right mind would actually think something like that about another group of people. People that are vaccinated don't have to worry about dying according to the so-called experts. So what's the problem? According to some it's the Republicans that aren't getting vaccinated so like I said what's the problem.

Kudos to our attorney general for trying to stop more government control!


judee, judee, judee - The empirical evidence has proven over time that Republicans hate people from children, to women, to "those" people and so it is no surprise they will work hard at killing people - even their own. No "expert" has mad the claim being vaccinated will prevent you from dying, particularly in light of the variants that keep surfacing. And onions to any politician who fees the American people should not be protected.

Too old for this

Bob is a lonely old man, confined to a wheelchair most of the day. He has nothing better to do than to come in here and try to piss people off. He often succeeds, and his day becomes brighter. A more intelligent, or educated, man might try to offer insights into problems listed in the news, based on his own life experience. However, we have Bob.

I don't think for a minute that Republicans hate people so much that they want them dead, and neither does Bob. I think that the push back on the mask mandate is, as you said, an effort to stop more government control. It is like the vaccine mandate that Joe is trying to shove down our throats, but not the throats of Congress, illegals, refugees, USPS, etc. People will revolt against unnecessary government intervention. Bob used to revolt when the bad, bad Orange man was in office.


twosie - Why do you find it necessary to constantly lie about me? I am not confined to a wheelchair, although I am physically handicapped. You don't know me, you've never met me and still you lie about me - why?

And I do not come here to "piss people off," another lie. My purpose is to post truth and facts that point out the hypocrisy and utter ludicrousness of the right-wing lone idiot-fringe.

And I do believe Republicans, based on years and years of evidence, truly hate freedom loving Americans and are now reaching out to kill them by ignoring the science that is saving millions of lives around the world. Protecting the health of Americans is one of the primary jobs of our government and doing so is NOT "government control." If these idiots had been around in 1955 polio would still be killing millions of people.

And I never "revolted" when the twice-impeached fool was in office - those were the seditious, insurrectionist, domestic-terrorists who attacked our capitol on 6 January. However I was revolted by the actions of he twice-impeached fool who lied to the American people that has, so far, resulted in more than 650,000 American men, women an children dying.


Bobber is trolling. Watch this: hey Bob, how about you cite this “empirical evidence” supporting your “truth” about republicans or put your mask back on and go back to bed. Fauci will tell you when it’s safe to wake up and take it off- this time - although it might require another booster. Please follow the science Bob. It’s up to you to end our suffering!

Third Eye

Then don't read the news out of Texas. A trump supporter murdered one of his neighbors and shot another five times. He had a list of libs he was going to own.

Too old for this

What does this have to do with anything related to the story at hand? There are crazies out there from both parties and it means nothing in the grand scheme of things.


Freedom of choice, heard of it?

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