Supreme Court Rejects Biden’s Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate For Big Businesses
The Supreme Court blocked President Biden‘s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) mandate, which required big businesses to test all employees for Covid-19 or prove vaccination, by a vote of 6-3.
The court did allow Biden’s national vaccine/testing mandate for some health care workers to go into effect.
OSHA would have required businesses with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated or to submit to regular testing, with some religious exemptions allowed. Over 80 million people would’ve been affected.
“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the unsigned majority opinion said. “Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”
The Biden administration also proposed that the Supreme Court mandate regular testing and masks if they did not want to order people to get the vaccine, but the Court denied it.
Biden promised to continue to urge states and individual businesses to require vaccines despite the decision.
“I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law,” Biden said in a statement. “This emergency standard allowed employers to require vaccinations or to permit workers to refuse to be vaccinated, so long as they were tested once a week and wore a mask at work: a very modest burden.”
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented, saying that the Court’s opinion should not take priority over medical experts.
“Today, we are not wise,” they wrote. “In the face of a still-raging pandemic, this Court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed. As disease and death continue to mount, this Court tells the agency that it cannot respond in the most effective way possible.”