Politics

Supreme Court blocks most of President Biden’s vaccine mandate, will allow it for federal healthcare workers

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the vaccine-or-test mandate imposed by the Biden administration, saying the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had exceeded its power.

Still, the court did uphold a regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that requires vaccines for almost all hospital employees, workers at nursing homes, and other health care providers that are recipients of federal funds.

“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,” wrote the majority in an unsigned opinion.

“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 vote fell along ideological lines, 6 to 3. The court’s three liberals, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, dissented. Their opinion written by Breyer said the conservative majority “seriously misapplies the applicable legal standards. And in so doing, it stymies the Federal Government’s ability to counter the unparalleled threat that COVID-19 poses to our Nation’s workers.”

President Biden released a statement regarding the decision in which he said he was “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.”

While claiming that the administration’s vaccination requirements have saved lives, he also called on “business leaders to immediately join those who have already stepped up – including one third of Fortune 100 companies – and institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers, and communities.” 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: POLITICO

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