By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
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 federal government has no such authority. 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 ordering 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 he believes Arizona employers are free to ignore other OSHA regulations like helmets for worksites and masks to protect against hazardous fumes.
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.
He contends that it violates equal protection provisions of the Constitution to mandate vaccines for workers but not for people coming into this country.
Brnovich has had little luck with a series of separate lawsuits challenging the president over the issue of immigration.