Sixth Circuit to Preside Over Challenge to OSHA Vaccine Mandate

November 18, 2021

By: Colin A. Walker

On November 12, 2021, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, issued a stay of OSHA’s vaccine mandate pending its review of a lawsuit filed by a coalition of employers challenging the mandate. Other similar lawsuits were filed in other jurisdictions.

The federal panel on multidistrict litigation has consolidated the cases and randomly assigned them to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, where it will be heard by a three-judge panel. The Sixth Circuit, which sits in Cincinnati, Ohio, is generally considered to be one of the more conservative courts with the majority of its judges having been appointed by Republican presidents. It is unclear how the case will proceed or how quickly the court will issue a decision, but it is likely to take more than a few weeks. The court could lift the stay imposed by the Fifth Circuit or leave it in place pending its decision. 

Once the Sixth Circuit issues a decision, an appeal to the United States Supreme Court is possible. However, the Supreme Court is not required to accept an appeal. Through a process known as certiorari, which is often hotly contested, the Court decides whether the case is sufficiently significant to warrant its review. If the Court declines certiorari, the Sixth Circuit’s decision would stand.