In a split ruling, the United States Supreme Court struck down last Thursday President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for companies. At the same time, the court allowed the White House to proceed with another vaccine mandate for health care workers.
Supreme Court Strikes Down Vaccine Mandate for Companies
The Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration overstepped its authority when it implemented a vaccine mandate for companies.
The justices struck down the administration’s attempt to impose the mandate via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Biden previously issued an executive order requiring private companies with 100 employees or more to require vaccinations for their workers. Otherwise, these companies will need to subject unvaccinated workers to regular testing.
Supreme Court Said OSHA Never Imposed Such A Mandate Before
According to the order, OSHA projects the rule will affect more than 80 million American workers. It also projects to save around 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over the next six months.
The Supreme Court’s ruling came just as the US is once again dealing with a COVID surge. This time, the principal driver is the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.
In an unsigned opinion, the majority of justices said they never saw anything like it before. “OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress.
Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID–19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here.”
Liberal Judges Dissent
The three liberal justices, Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, wrote a joint dissenting opinion. They argued that it was the Supreme Court that was overreaching.
It accused the Supreme Court of substituting its judgment for that of health experts. “Acting outside of its competence and without legal basis, the Court displaces the judgments of the Government officials given the responsibility to respond to workplace health emergencies.”
Meanwhile, President Biden expressed disappointment in the ruling. He said he felt disappointed that the Supreme Court chose to go that way.
Instead of supporting the mandate, the courts chose to “block common-sense life-saving requirements” for large companies. He insisted that his vaccine mandate for companies remain “grounded squarely in both science and the law.”
Biden Says Many Companies Already Complied
In addition, Biden noted that a third of Fortune 100 companies already pushed through with the vaccine mandate. He also called on other businesses to enact their own vaccination requirements for their employees.
Prior to the SC ruling, the OSHA measure already received opposition from a federal appeals court in New Orleans. However, another appellate court in Ohio allowed the same to proceed.
Republican states led the way in opposing the vaccine mandate for companies. Other business groups also came in opposition to the order. They pointed out that implementing the measure is too expensive.
It can also lead to mass resignations, which can backfire at the time of The Great Resignation. In fact, the National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, hailed the “significant victory for employers.”
The SC said that even a global pandemic does not authorize a federal agency to use powers it doesn’t have. Congress has yet to confer the power to impose this mandate to the President.
Watch the NBC News video reporting that Supreme Court blocks Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate for private companies:
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