Dec 7 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the last of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for businesses, saying the government exceeded it authority with a requirement that millions of employees of federal contractors be inoculated.


“Abuse of power by the Biden administration has been stopped cold again,” Republican South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, who joined the lawsuit, said in a statement.


U.S. District Judge Stan Baker in Savannah said Congress did not authorize the president to use procurement to impose a vaccine requirement on contractors that will have “vast economic and political significance.”


The lawsuit was filed by the states of Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia as well as a trade group for contractors.


Joe Biden in September said patience was wearing thin with the minority of American adults who refused to get vaccinated and took several steps including requiring contractors to have their employees get the shots.


Courts have now blocked several Biden administration vaccine mandates for exceeding executive branch authority and usurping a power over health policy, which is generally left to the states.


The rule required contractors to have employees fully vaccinated by Jan. 18.


Tuesday’s ruling by Baker, an appointee of President Donald Trump, shut down temporarily the last remaining business mandates that Biden had announced, as courts have found the government overstepped its authority in imposing the rules.


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