The Supreme Court has blocked President Joe Biden‘s vaccine-or-test mandate for private companies with 100 or more employees, in a decision handed down on Thursday.
The high court did however allow a vaccine mandate for employees at health care facilities receiving federal dollars to go into effect.
In a 6-3 decision the court’s conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the rule on large US businesses.
The conservative justices claim Biden’s rule would have presented a ‘significant encroachment’ on the everyday lives — and health — of American workers.
Roughly 84 million people would have been affected.
The decision to allow the mandate on healthcare workers in Medicare and Medicaid-funded settings fell 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh siding with liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer.
It’s the latest blow in a devastating day for Biden, who just in the last few hours failed to gin up support among Senate Democrats to scuttle the filibuster and pass voting rights legislation.
Biden rolled out sweeping measures in September aimed at getting more Americans vaccinated, after the rate of inoculations slumped as the Delta variant brought a new wave of infections over the summer. If implemented, they would have affected a combined one-third of the US workforce.
Following the president’s orders the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the agency which ensures public and private workplace safety on a federal level, rolled out details for its rules for private companies.
In the 6-3 majority opinion, the conservative justices claim the rule ‘draws no distinctions based on industry or risk of exposure to COVID–19.’
They go on to argue that COVID-19 is not an ‘occupational hazard’ and can be spread ‘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 opinion states.
‘Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.’
In his concurring opinion Justice Neil Gorsuch appeared to take a jab at White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who landed himself and Biden in hot water late last year by retweeting an MSNBC host calling the mandate the ‘ultimate work-around’ to normal Congressional authorities.
Gorsuch said it appeared that OSHA ‘pursued its regulatory initiative only as a legislative “work-around.”‘
In typical fashion Klain took to Twitter to defend his boss’s mandate on Thursday.
‘We didn’t impose ANY vaccine requirements until August, and the one the Court stayed today was not announced until September,’ Klain wrote.
‘These requirements were used only after persuasion, incentives ($100 to get a vax), and final FDA approval were all in place.’
Republican praise for the court’s decision poured in near-immediately.
‘This is a huge win. The federal government has no place making far-reaching mandates that put an undue burden on businesses across Wyoming,’ Senator Cynthia Lummis wrote on Twitter.
The Biden administration was already on the back foot with COVID on Thursday.
Earlier the president gave a rambling 10-minute speech ahead of his COVID-19 briefing during which he announced that 1 billion at-home tests would be sent out to Americans, after his administration was criticized for its delayed response to the Omicron variant.
After the speech he refused to take questions, telling a journalist asking about guidelines for vaccinated Americans: ‘Folks, we’ll talk about that later, come on.’
He’s seen public approval of his handling of the pandemic plunge, according to a new NewsNation poll.
Despite seeing poll numbers sink on a range of fronts from foreign policy to the economy, Biden’s approval rating on COVID has managed to scrape by above 50 percent until now.
Just 45 percent of Americans now approve of how Biden is dealing with COVID, a devastating blow to a president who won the White House after making a promise to ‘shut down’ the virus.
The Democratic National Committee reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision by saying it does not change the importance of vaccines as a tool against the pandemic.
‘Nor does it change the fact that it is Republican leaders, governors, senators, and House members who continue to dangerously undermine vaccines, elevate anti-vaxxers, and echo conspiracy theories on a daily basis to cater to a fringe, unvaccinated group,’ the DNC said.
Source: Thanks msn.com