Supreme Court Blocks Biden Admin’s Vaccine Mandate for Businesses — Power Rests With the States and Congress, Not OSHA

In a decision that was expected based on the hearing transcript (PDF), the U.S. Supreme Court has issued a stay (6-3) on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate and weekly testing for businesses with at least 100 employees and declined to issue a stay (5-4) on the vaccine mandate as it applies to health care facilities that receive federal funds. From the majority opinion (PDF – 30 pages) in the decision for the mandate for businesses:

The question before us is not how to respond to the pandemic, but who holds the power to do so. The answer is clear: Under the law as it stands today, that power rests with the States and Congress, not OSHA.

Chief Justice John Roberts’s comments during arguments about the mandate for businesses signaled the high court’s likely decision.

“It seems to me that it’s that the government is trying to work across the waterfront and it’s just going agency by agency,” Chief Justice Roberts said…“I mean, this has been referred to, the approach, as a work-around, and I’m wondering what it is you’re trying to work around.” He added that the mandate “sounds like the sort of thing that states will be responding to or should be or — and that Congress should be responding to or should be rather than agency by agency, the federal government, the executive branch, acting alone, is responding to it.”

OSHA issued the mandate in November, with an effective date in January.

The three liberal justices dissented in the decision on the vaccine and testing mandate for businesses. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett dissented in the health workers opinion (PDF – 23 pages).

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