Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled out the Biden Administration’s Vaccine Mandate after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement on January 10. While the Court blocked the mandate for employers, Justice Judges upheld the mandate for medical facilities accepting payments from Medicare and Medicaid. A fundamental question the Supreme Court faced was determining who exactly has the authority to mandate and regulate Covid-19 vaccinations and testings.
After OSHA published its vaccine mandate on November 5, 2021, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and states filed 60 petitions for a hearing. The Court consolidated those cases in the Sixth Circuit, which denied the request for an initial hearing. It happened after OSHA petitioned the Court of Appeals to renounce the existing stay of the Fifth Circuit.
Is it Washington’s administrative agency or the US States, local governments, and Congress Representatives who rightfully have the vaccine or testing mandate authority?
Justice Judges stated in a Supreme Court Opinions document that “Its Members are elected by, and accountable to no one” and that they “lack the background, competence, and expertise to assess workplace health and safety issues.” The Court continued by saying, while OSHA is responsible for protecting the safety of workers, they “may not do so in all the workplaces needed” and cannot effectively respond in any way.
It is the Secretary of Labor that issued 2021 86 Fed. Reg. 61402, Emergency Standard two months after President Joe Biden announced his vaccination plan. Secretary of Labor acted through OSHA and enacted the vaccine mandate for large companies employing 100 plus workers. Unvaccinated employees must wear masks every workday and pay for weekly Covid-19 tests, an exception.
The problem lies with a conflict of ruling-interest between the Secretary and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The Justice Judges ruled that OSHA “lacks the authority to enforce the mandate.” One reason is that the law created the agency to “empower the Secretary and not public health measures to set workplace safety standards.”
Supreme Court upheld the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers at hospitals, long-term care, and other relating facilities. The ruling affects over 17 million workers in the health care industry and nearly 76,000 healthcare facilities in the United States.
Members of the Supreme Court made it clear that the power to mandate vaccinations is not OSHA but the States and Congress instead under the law. They are not challenging the mandate’s intent but “discharging their duty to enforce the demands of the law” to determine “who govern 84 million workers’ lives.” The Court’s ruling will not affect airlines’ mandates, and employers can require their workers to receive Covid-19 vaccinations if they are not already vaccinated.
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and Ohio applicants won their cases against the Department of Labor OSHA. They argue that the mandate imposed by OSHA “exceeds its statutory authority and is unlawful.” The Supreme Court sided with NFIB and Ohio and named the Secretary of Labor the authority to enforce the Covid-19 vaccine mandate. The next step for the Biden Administration is presently unknown after the Court’s ruling.