D.C. — The Supreme Court has stopped the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees at large businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job.
At the same time, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S. The court’s orders Thursday during a spike in coronavirus cases was a mixed bag for the administration’s efforts to boost the vaccination rate among Americans.
The unsigned opinion reads, "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. 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 ruling also touched, in a fairly balanced way, on the effect the mandate could have on employers with justices writing, "The employers principally argue that the Standard will disrupt their businesses by prompting hundreds of thousands of employees to leave their jobs. But OSHA expressly considered that claim, and found it exaggerated. According to OSHA, employers that have implemented vaccine mandates have found that far fewer employees actually quit their jobs than threaten to do so."
President Joe Biden expressed dissatisfaction after the decision by the high court dealt a huge blow to the White House's attempt to use federal government power to fight the pandemic.
Earlier President Biden said, "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," CNN reported.
The president said that it will now be up to states and individual employers to decide how they want to proceed with mandates on vaccines, which still won't apply to most health care workers per the high court ruling.