Judge Blocks Challenge by Southwest Pilots

Judge Blocks Challenge by Southwest Pilots

(RightWing.org) – President Joe Biden signed an executive order in early September mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all federal contractors. On October 1, Reuters confirmed Biden administration officials were pressing American, Delta, and Southwest Airlines to meet a December 8 deadline for compliance because all three companies have federal government contracts.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) unsuccessfully petitioned the Biden administration for exemptions to the mandate and subsequently filed a lawsuit seeking relief. Unfortunately, a federal judge tossed the case earlier this week.

On Tuesday, October 26, District Court Judge Barbara Lynn denied the SWAPA’s request for a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the December mandate. According to her, the Biden administration’s vaccine requirement would “improve the safety of air transportation” as well as the overall “efficiency” of Southwest Airlines’ daily operations.

Judge Lynn also sided with the administration’s premise the mandate applied to airlines. “[Because] Southwest is a federal contractor, the vaccine policy is required by law,” she wrote.

Southwest implemented a November 24th deadline for vaccination, presumably to meet the December 8 federal deadline. However, the airline has said it won’t fire any employees electing not to receive the vaccine. Southwest has also encouraged its workers to submit claims for medical and religious exemptions.

What do you think? Could Southwest’s leniency indicate a chink in the armor of hardline vaccine mandates?

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