Supreme Court blocks Biden Vaccine Mandat for Businesses
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large companies, but said a similar one may continue while legal challenges to the rules go through lower courts.
The vote was 6-3 against the business mandate that is large and 5-4 in favor of the health worker mandate.
Biden’s proposed mandate on vaccines for businesses included all companies with more than 100 employees. It would require those companies to ensure that their employees were regularly tested or vaccinated for COVID-19.
In its ruling, the majority of the court called the plan a “blunt instrument.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was supposed to enforce the rule, but the court ruled that the mandate was not within the agency’s jurisdiction.
“OSHA has never issued such a requirement.” Congress has not yet. The majority of lawmakers stated that Congress has not enacted any legislation to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The court ruled that the mandate is “no everyday exercise of federal power.’ Instead, it is an enormous intrusion into the lives and health of a vast majority of employees.
Anthony Kreis, a Georgia State University constitutional law professor, said that the ruling indicates that the court doesn’t know the specific situation that the pandemic created and has impeded government’s ability to function.
“It is difficult to imagine a situation that is more in urgent need of swift intervention other than a national health emergency, which is exactly what the majority of the court appears to not understand.”
The Biden administration claimed that COVID-19 was an “occupational danger” and therefore OSHA’s responsibility to regulate it. However the court ruled against the claims.
COVID-19 poses a threat in many workplaces but it is not an occupational hazard. The justices ruled that COVID-19 is a risk at school, at home, and at events where people gather.”
This kind of risk that is universal They declared, “is no different from the daily dangers that we suffer from the threat of pollution, crime, or any of the other infectious illnesses.”
In their disapproval, justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor declared that COVID-19 is a problem in confined indoor spaces and is a cause of harm in almost all workplaces. In those settings more than in any other, individuals have little control, and therefore less capacity to manage risk.”
This means, the majority said, that COVID-19 “is a threat in work environments.”
According to OSHA it is mandated to “protect employees from grave danger” from “new dangers” and exposure to harmful agents. COVID-19 certainly meets that criteria.
“The court’s decision is seriously flawed in its application of the lawful standards applicable,” the dissent says. “And in doing so it hampers the federal government’s ability counter the unprecedented threat that COVID-19 poses to our workers in our nation.”
This is a story in the process of being developed. Keep an eye out for further updates.