The Biden administration in a filing late Monday said it has the legal authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or tests for larger companies, and that the GOP-led states and businesses challenging the law have not shown their claims will outweigh the harms of stopping the rule.

In a filing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which temporarily blocked the mandate with a nationwide stay last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said the rule is firmly grounded in law and necessary to keep people safe.

Stopping the mandate from taking effect “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day,” the DOJ wrote.

Wait your turn: The DOJ also argued there is no need to address the challenges immediately, because there is a congressionally mandated process for judicial review of Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. Since the challenges were filed in separate courts, there is going to be a lottery on Nov. 16 to determine which court will hear the lawsuit. Nov. 16 is also well ahead of the Dec. 4 deadline for people to get their first shot, if they want to be vaccinated ahead of the Jan. 4 effective date.