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Bradford v. Department of Labor

Two companies filed suit challenging President Biden’s executive order requiring federal government contracts to include a provision that requires contractors and subcontractors to pay their employees a minimum wage. The district court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, and they appealed to the Tenth Circuit. Among other things, the plaintiffs argued that the President lacks authority to impose the minimum-wage provision pursuant to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (Procurement Act), a federal law that provides the framework for governmental procurement activities.

In the Tenth Circuit, Public Citizen filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the government’s argument that President Biden’s executive order is authorized by the Procurement Act. The brief documents the various executive orders that presidents throughout history have issued to address the contractor/employee relationship for the purpose of enabling the successful fulfillment of federal contracts, and it explains that President Biden’s executive order fits comfortably within this historical practice.

In an opinion issued on April 30, 2024, the court of appeals affirmed the denial of the preliminary injunction. The court held that the Act likely authorizes the rule and that the companies had not shown that the rule is arbitrary and capricious.