Supreme Court Blocks Biden’s Vax Mandate, Upholds Healthcare Worker Mandate

The Supreme Court came to a decision on two Biden administration vaccine mandates, striking down the requirement for large businesses and upholding the requirement for healthcare workers. 

QUICK FACTS:
  • The United States Supreme Court has struck down the Biden administration mandate for businesses requiring workers to be vaccinated or submit to repeated testing and wear masks, according to Mercury News.
  • The publication also reported that the mandate for healthcare workers will remain in place.
  • Representatives for the Biden administration asked that the court require regular testing and masks for those unvaccinated, but the court refused.
  • According to USA Today, the court based its decision on the opinion that the Executive Branch does not have the authority to impose such a mandate in private businesses.
JUSTICES OPINIONS:
  • “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 unsigned opinion in the businesses case says for the majority according to CNN.
  • The minority, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan issued a dissent, according to USA Today, saying, “In our view, the court’s order seriously misapplies the applicable legal standards,” Associate Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the three. “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.”
BACKGROUND:
  • The rule governing large businesses impacts some 80 million individual employees and would have required businesses with 100 or more employees to either ensure their workers were fully vaccinated or undergo frequent testing and wear masks, according to CNN.
  • The healthcare worker’s mandate is expected to be enforced around 10.3 million healthcare workers in the United States, covering staff who were required to have their first dose in December of last year.
  • Both mandates were said to have built-in religious exemptions to be used in some instances, however, the requirements of those exemptions are somewhat unclear.