Story from the HILL.
Judge blocks Obama overtime rule, putting it in jeopardy
BY TIM DEVANEY AND LYDIA WHEELER
The Labor Department’s contentious overtime rule was blocked Tuesday by a federal judge in Texas, putting one of President Obama’s top regulatory initiatives in jeopardy.
In a 20-page order, Texas U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant issued a temporary injunction halting the rule nationwide.
“Due to the approaching effective date of the Final Rule, the Court’s ability to render a meaningful decision on the merits is in jeopardy,” he wrote. “A preliminary injunction preserves the status quo while the Court determines the department’s authority to make the Final Rule as well as the Final Rule’s validity.”
The rule would have extended overtime pay to more than 4 million workers starting Dec. 1. It would have required employers to pay overtime to most salaried workers who earn less than $47,476 annually, a much higher threshold than the current annual salary limit of $23,660.
Dozens of business groups and 21 state attorneys general challenged the overtime rule in federal court.
Mazzant, who was nominated to the bench by Obama, noted that he’s not the first judge to bar national implementation of a department ruling. He cited a Fort Worth Texas court judge’s decision in August to block the Education Department from allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.
The order puts the future of Obama’s overtime rule in doubt.
Experts say the litigation and possible appeal process is likely to drag out until the inauguration, which means President-elect Donald Trump could scrap the overtime changes by dropping the defense of the rule.
“Mr. Trump and his hand-picked Secretary of Labor will have a lot to say about whether the DOL will continue to pursue the rule in one form or another,” said Ryan Glasgow, a partner at the D.C. law firm Hunton & Williams LLP.
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