The Fifth Circuit Court got the science wrong on OSHA’s vaccination mandate

New Policy Perspective Just Published in STAT News

The Fifth Circuit Court made three fundamental scientific errors regarding the vaccination mandate, any one of which should vacate its decision.

Commentary

§ Numerous readers of this opinion piece have sent me comments posing the same question: Wasn’t the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals deciding questions of law, rather than questions of science?

Federal trial courts and other administrative courts are generally expected to follow the Findings of Fact / Conclusions of Law framework when they issue final judgments. This framework imposes an important discipline on the court. The judge who makes the ruling needs to inquire: (1) Were all the relevant facts accurately determined? (2) Were those facts correctly applied to the law?

While an appellate court issuing an order to stay enforcement of a regulation is not required to follow the same format, the point is nonetheless clear. If the Court gets the facts wrong, the legal conclusions it draws are defective.

§ Some readers have expressed concerns that the quotations from the Fifth Circuit opinion may have been taken out of context. Here is a copy of the opinion, with the specific quotations highlighted.

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