The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large, private businesses.
That case was in reference to the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandate. However, in a separate decision, the Court allowed a more modest mandate to stand, which requires the vaccine for health care employees working at facilities who receive federal funding, also known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) mandate.
Both cases focused on whether President Joe Biden exceeded the authority granted to him by Congress.
The health care mandate was upheld by a 5-4 majority, with Chief Justice John Roberts & Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, who dissented in the employee mandate case. All six conservative justices voted to block the employer mandate.
The opinions were highly anticipated as they affect tens of millions of Americans.
In the unsigned opinion in the employer mandate case, the majority found the mandate too broad because it “draws no distinctions based on industry or risk of exposure to Covid-19.”
The court wrote that “The Act empowers the Secretary [of Labor] to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures.” But while COVID-19 is transmitted in the workplace, it also spreads “at home, in schools, during sporting events, and everywhere else that people gather. That kind of universal risk is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases,” the court said, and, like those other hazards, is beyond OSHA’s power to address.
Matt Clark is President of the Alabama Center for Law & Liberty and the attorney for one of the 14 plaintiffs who sought relief from the Court from the employer mandate.
“Today, the People won, and tyranny lost,” said Clark. “While COVID-19 is a serious issue, the question is who decides how individuals should deal with it: the People themselves, or unelected and unaccountable federal agencies.”
Congressman Gary Palmer (R) had opposed the mandate. He shared his thoughts shortly after the decision was released.
“This decision from the Supreme Court is a huge win for limited government and individual liberty,” Palmer said. “A person’s right to make their own health decisions does not disappear during a pandemic. This OSHA mandate was an egregious example of government overreach. No one should be compelled by law or burdensome regulation to receive a vaccine that they do not want, for whatever deeply held reason.”
Attorney General Steve Marshall also expressed his approval of the decision.
“This is a win for the Constitution over the most overreaching of Biden’s unlawful, unconstitutional, and un-American mandates, which sought to force some 80 million employees to submit to vaccinations or lose their jobs,” said Marshall.
Marshall also expressed his disagreement with the court in the health care case.
“I am, however, greatly disappointed with the Court’s decision regarding the Biden administration’s healthcare-worker vaccine mandate,” said Marshall. “As with the private-employer vaccine mandate, the healthcare-worker vaccine mandate far exceeded any power Congress gave the administration, and the mandate will cause many frontline healthcare workers to find new work, precisely at a moment when hospitals around the country are struggling to find doctors and nurses,” said Marshall.
Gov. Kay Ivey also expressed her disapproval of the Court’s decision to uphold the mandate for health care workers.
“I completely disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to let the mandate on health care workers move forward,” said Ivey. “At a time when hospitals around the country are experiencing shortages and burnout in staff, why would they then run more off with an overreaching mandate by the president? I do not believe the White House is equipped to tell health care professionals they know better when it comes to medical advice.”
The cases underscore the deep divisions which persist not only in regards to the nation’s COVID response but also the difference in threat and risk assessment.
Sotomayor recently received pushback from the Washington Post & the CDC on her statements during oral arguments regarding children currently in serious condition because of COVID.
Click the following link to view the Court’s full opinion:
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