Mass. Bldg. Trades Council v. U.S. Dep't of Labor (In re MCP No. 165, Occupational Safety & Health Admin.)

Decision Date15 December 2021
Docket Number4085 /4086 /4087 /4089 /4088 ,4094 /4096 /4097 /4099 /4100 ,4033 /4080 /4082 /4083 /4084 ,4090 /4091 /4093 /4092 /4095 ,4101 /4102 /4103 /4108 /4112 ,4114 /4115 /4117 /4133,Nos. 21-7000 /4027 /4028 /4031 /4032 ,s. 21-7000 /4027 /4028 /4031 /4032
Citation20 F.4th 264 (Mem)
Parties IN RE: MCP NO. 165, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, INTERIM FINAL RULE: COVID-19 VACCINATION AND TESTING; Emergency Temporary Standard 86 Fed. Reg. 61402. Massachusetts Building Trades Council, et al. (21-7000); Bentkey Services, LLC (21-4027); Phillips Manufacturing & Tower Company, et al. (21-4028); Commonwealth of Kentucky, et al. (21-4031); Answers in Genesis, Inc. (21-4032); Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, et al. (21-4033); BST Holdings, LLC, et al. (21-4080); Republican National Committee (21-4082); Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., et al. (21-4083); Massachusetts Building Trades Council (21-4084); Union of American Physicians and Dentists (21-4085); Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., et al. (21-4086); National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians, The Broadcasting and Cable Television Workers Sector of the Communications Workers of America, Local 51, AFL-CIO (21-4087); State of Missouri, et al. (21-4088); United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO (21-4089); State of Indiana (21-4090); Tankcraft Corporation, et al. (21-4091); National Association of Home Builders (21-4092); Job Creators Network, et al. (21-4093); United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, AFL/CIO-CLC, et al. (21-4094); Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ (21-4095); MFA, Inc., et al. (21-4096); State of Florida, et al. (21-4097); AFT Pennsylvania (21-4099); Denver Newspaper Guild, Communications Workers of America, Local 37074, AFL-CIO (21-4100); DTN Staffing, Inc., et al. (21-4101); Fabarc Steel Supply, Inc., et al. (21-4102); Media Guild of the West, the News Guild-Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Local 39213 (21-4103); Natural Products Association (21-4108); Oberg Industries, LLC (21-4112); Betten Chevrolet, Inc. (21-4114); Tore Says LLC (21-4115); Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association, et al. (21-4117); Aaron Abadi (21-4133), Petitioners, v. United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al., Respondents.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit

ON PETITIONS FOR INITIAL HEARING EN BANC: Benjamin M. Flowers, May Davis, OFFICE OF THE OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL, Columbus, Ohio, Christopher L. Thacker, Lindsey R. Keiser, OFFICE OF THE KENTUCKY ATTORNEY GENERAL, Frankfort, Kentucky, Clark L. Hildabrand, Brandon J. Smith, OFFICE OF THE TENNESSEE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Nashville, Tennessee, Brian Kane, Leslie M. Hayes, Megan A. Larrondo, OFFICE OF THE IDAHO ATTORNEY GENERAL, Boise, Idaho, Jeffrey A. Chanay, OFFICE OF THE KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL, Topeka, Kansas, Mithun Mansinghani, OFFICE OF THE OKLAHOMA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Lindsay S. See, OFFICE OF THE WEST VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Charleston, West Virginia, Edmund G. LaCour Jr., OFFICE OF THE ALABAMA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Montgomery, Alabama, Charles E. Brasington, OFFICE OF THE ALASKA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Anchorage, Alaska, Drew Ensign, OFFICE OF THE ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Phoenix, Arizona, John V. Coghlan, OFFICE OF THE MISSISSIPPI ATTORNEY GENERAL, Jackson, Mississippi, David M. S. Dewhirst, Christian B. Corrigan, OFFICE OF THE MONTANA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Helena, Montana, Nicholas J. Bronni, Vincent M. Wagner, OFFICE OF THE ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL, Little Rock, Arkansas, Henry C. Whitaker, Jason H. Hilborn, OFFICE OF THE FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Tallahassee, Florida, James A. Campbell, OFFICE OF THE NEBRASKA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Lincoln, Nebraska, Anthony J. Galdieri, OFFICE OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Concord, New Hampshire, Matthew A. Sagsveen, OFFICE OF THE NORTH DAKOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Bismarck, North Dakota, Ross W. Bergethon, OFFICE OF THE GEORGIA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Atlanta, Georgia, Thomas M. Fisher, OFFICE OF THE INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Indianapolis, Indiana, Thomas T. Hydrick, OFFICE OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Columbia, South Carolina, Samuel P. Langholz, OFFICE OF THE IOWA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Des Moines, Iowa, Elizabeth B. Murrill, OFFICE OF THE LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Judd E. Stone II, William F. Cole, Ryan S. Baasch, OFFICE OF THE TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL, Austin, Texas, Melissa A. Holyoak, OFFICE OF THE UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL, Salt Lake City, Utah, Ryan Schelhaas, OFFICE OF THE WYOMING ATTORNEY GENERAL, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Michael E. Toner, Thomas M. Johnson, Jr., Stephen J. Obermeier, Jeremy J. Broggi, Krystal B. Swendsboe, WILEY REIN LLP, Washington, D.C., Jeffrey C. Mateer, Hiram S. Sasser III, David J. Hacker, Jeremiah G. Dys, Lea E. Patterson, Keisha T. Russell, FIRST LIBERTY INSTITUTE, Plano, Texas, Cathleen A. Martin, John A. Ruth, NEWMAN, COMLEY & RUTH, P.C., Jefferson City, Missouri, Robert Henneke, Chance Weldon, TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION, Austin, Texas, Matthew J. Clark, ALABAMA CENTER FOR LAW AND LIBERTY, Birmingham, Alabama, David A. Cortman, John J. Bursch, Matthew S. Bowman, Frank H. Chang, ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM, Washington, D.C., Ryan L. Bangert, Ryan J. Tucker, ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM, Scottsdale, Arizona, Richard J. Oparil, ARNALL GOLDEN GREGORY LLP, Washington, D.C., Grant J. Guillot, GRANT GUILLOT, LLC, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Russell A. Newman, THE NEWMAN LAW FIRM, Brentwood, Tennessee, Christopher Wiest, CHRIS WIEST, ATTORNEY AT LAW, PLLC, Crestview Hills, Kentucky, James P. Sullivan, OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR, Austin, Texas, Harmeet K. Dhillon, Ronald D. Coleman, Mark P. Meuser, Michael A. Columbo, DHILLON LAW GROUP INC., San Francisco, California, Robert Alt, THE BUCKEYE INSTITUTE, Columbus, Ohio, Patrick Strawbridge, CONSOVOY MCCARTHY PLLC, Boston, Massachusetts, for Petitioners. ON RESPONSE: Sarah E. Harrington, Michael S. Raab, Adam C. Jed, Brian J. Springer, Martin Totaro, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondents.


The En Banc Court of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered an order. MOORE, J. (pp. 267), delivered a separate opinion concurring in the denial of the petitions for initial hearing en banc in which COLE, CLAY, WHITE, and DONALD, JJ., joined. SUTTON, C.J. (pp. 267-85), in which KETHLEDGE, THAPAR, BUSH, LARSEN, NALBANDIAN, READLER, and MURPHY, JJ., joined, and BUSH, J. (pp. 285-92), delivered separate opinions dissenting from the denial of the petitions for initial hearing en banc.


On Petitions for Initial Hearing En Banc.

The court having received petitions for initial hearing en banc, and the petitions having been circulated to all active judges of this court, and less than a majority of the active judges of this court having voted in favor of initial hearing en banc,

IT IS ORDERED that the petitions be, and hereby are, DENIED.


KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge, concurring in the denial of initial hearing en banc.

This is an important case on an accelerated timeframe. And yet, many challengers proposed initial hearing en banc, an "often unproductive, always inefficient process." See Mitts v. Bagley , 626 F.3d 366, 370 (6th Cir. 2010) (Sutton, J., concurring in denial of en banc review). Because a three-judge panel of our court has already devoted significant time to this case, and because initial hearing en banc would subvert our normal process and require the full court to grapple with a sprawling record, I concur in the denial of initial hearing en banc.

Courts have repeatedly recognized that en banc hearing is an inefficient process. See Mitts , supra ; Hart v. Massanari , 266 F.3d 1155, 1172 & n.29 (9th Cir. 2001) (calling en banc proceedings "unwieldy and time-consuming") (internal quotation omitted); Bartlett ex rel. Neuman v. Bowen , 824 F.2d 1240, 1243 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (Edwards, J., concurring in the denial of rehearing en banc) (noting that en banc rehearing "substantially delays the case being reheard"). This potential for delay "is magnified when there has been no prior panel consideration of a case." Belk v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ. , 211 F.3d 853, 854 (4th Cir. 2000) (Wilkinson, C.J., concurring in denial of initial hearing en banc).

This case shows the folly of initial hearing en banc. The massive docket and profusion of briefs, as in an especially complex matter before a district court, require focused consideration by a devoted panel. En banc hearing does indeed put "all hands on deck." C.J. Sutton Dissent at 271. In a case as important, accelerated, and briefing-filled as this one, however, gathering all hands on deck would have strained the resources of the sixteen active judges, requiring each of us to review the voluminous record and the relevant underlying legal doctrines. What's more, it would have done so for no discernable purpose: the case already sits before three thoughtful, independent judges on the panel who have spent the past weeks steeped in this matter. We properly leave the matter in their hands.

Our decisions "warrant the utmost respect when they are perceived by the public to have been reached in the most regular and careful manner." Belk , 211 F.3d at 856 (Wilkinson, C.J., concurring in denial of initial hearing en banc). I am relieved that this court adheres to those standards of regularity and care today.


SUTTON, Chief Judge, dissenting from the denial of initial hearing en banc.

When much is sought from a statute, much must be shown. The Secretary of Labor asks a lot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. He claims authority to...

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