Attorney General Headshot

Attorney General Marty Jackley

Attorney General Seal


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 5, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg today joined an eleven-state coalition in filing a lawsuit against Joe Biden and the Biden Administration to halt their vaccine mandate on private employers with more than 100 employees. This coalition of states is the first to file suit against the vaccine mandate on private employers. Five private employers joined the challenge as well. A Petition for Judicial Review was filed in the United States 8th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this morning, and a Motion for Stay is expected to be filed early next week.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit earlier this morning, challenges the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) propagated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which requires private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate their employees to get vaccinated or implement weekly testing and mask requirements. Non-compliant businesses could face steep fines.

The petition states, “This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise. The federal government lacks constitutional authority under its enumerated powers to issue this mandate, and its attempt to do so unconstitutionally infringes on the States’ powers expressly reserved by the Tenth Amendment. OSHA also lacks statutory authority to issue this mandate, which it shoe-horned into statutes that govern workplace safety, and which were never intended to federalize public-health policy.”

The petition also states, “For over a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that policies on compulsory vaccination lie within the police powers of the States, and that ‘they are matters that do not ordinarily concern the national government.’ Until quite recently, the Biden Administration agreed. The White House stated on July 23 of this year that mandating vaccines is ‘not the role of the federal government.’ But on September 9, 2021, that position underwent a dramatic reversal. The President announced several sweeping vaccine mandates, including a vaccine mandate to be issued by OSHA that applies to all employers who employ more than 100 employees. OSHA published this ‘emergency’ mandate two months later, crafting an elaborate post hoc justification for a policy that the President had already dictated that it would impose.”

The full petition can be found here.

In addition to South Dakota, attorneys general from Missouri, Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Wyoming also joined the challenge.


The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal officer for the State of South Dakota and provides legal advice to agencies, boards, and commissions of the State as well as representing the State in state and federal court.  The Office of Attorney General also handles prosecutions, felony criminal appeals, civil matters, consumer protection issues, and issues formal opinions interpreting statutes for agencies of the state.  Visit to learn more.

Connect with us on Facebook or on Twitter at @SDAttorneyGen