On Friday, a federal court in Texas temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s requirement that federal employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.

In the decision, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Vincent Brown in the Southern District of Texas ruled against the administration’s vaccine policy, which stems from executive orders issued by Biden in September. The ruling came in a case brought by a group called Feds for Medical Freedom.

“Executive Order 14043, amounts to a presidential mandate that all federal employees consent to vaccination against COVID-19 or lose their jobs,” the judge wrote in the 20-page ruling. “Because the President’s authority is not that broad, the court will enjoin the second order’s enforcement.”

The judge said there is no need to enjoin the administration from enforcement of Executive Order 14042, which affects federal contract workers, because it is already the subject of a nationwide injunction by a federal district judge in Georgia.

“The court notes at the outset that this case is not about whether folks should get vaccinated against COVID-19 — the court believes they should,” said the Galveston-based judge.

“It is instead about whether the President can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment,” the judge goes on to say in the decision. Under current law, it “is a bridge too far.”

On Friday White House press secretary Jen Psaki expressed confidence the vaccine mandate policy would be upheld on appeal, and said 98% of feds are already vaccinated. The Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management has said in excess of 90% of its federal staff and contractor workforce have been vaccinated.

Earlier in January, the U.S. Supreme Court, an independent branch of the federal government, struck down another administration program, administered through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, that required employees of large companies to either get vaccinated or be tested regularly. The high court did, however, leave in place a vaccination mandate for most employees at hospitals or clinics.

As for the Texas case, Judge Brown there said that most lawsuits filed so far against the vaccine mandate for civil servants have failed “due to procedural missteps by the plaintiffs or a failure to show imminent harm.”

However, the federal judge in Texas said, “any harm to the public interest by allowing federal employees to remain unvaccinated must be balanced against the harm sure to come by terminating unvaccinated workers who provide vital services to the nation.”

“While vaccines are undoubtedly the best way to avoid serious illness from COVID-19, there is no reason to believe that the public interest cannot be served via less restrictive measures than the mandate, such as masking, social distancing, or part- or full-time remote work,” according to the ruling.