UPDATE: On November 4, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Kentucky challenging the federal contractor mandate. The complaint is very similar to the ones filed by other states as described in the blog post below.
At the end of October 2021, four complaints were filed by almost 20 states challenging the government contractor vaccine mandate. While some have suggested that these states, led by Republican governors, filed the suits for political reasons, it would be a mistake to discount them. The complaints raise very significant procedural and substantive questions about the legality of the government contractor vaccine mandate.
On October 28, the State of Florida filed suit in the Middle District of Florida (the Florida Complaint). The following day, ten more states – Missouri, Nebraska, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming – filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Missouri (the Missouri Complaint); a further seven states – Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia – filed suit in the Southern District of Georgia (the Georgia Complaint); Texas filed a complaint in the Southern District of Texas (the Texas Complaint).
While there are multiple differences between the complaints, there is a high likelihood that the states have established standing to challenge the government contractor mandate as they all have agencies or other entities that are party to federal contracts and contract-like instruments. In addition, each complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief but as of November 3 it appears that only Florida has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. We expect the others to be filed soon. Also, they all make facially compelling procedural and substantive arguments that Executive Order 14042, the OMB Guidance, and the government contract provisions are unlawful.