On Thursday, the Supreme Court voted to halt the large-employer vaccine mandate proposed by the Biden Administration and OSHA. The mandate, if passed, would require any business with over one hundred employees to enforce vaccine-or-test rules upon their employees. Employees would either present a negative Covid test every week or get the vaccine. In addition, OSHA says that unvaccinated employees would have to wear a mask while working indoors.
According to ABC, the ruling was concluded with a vote of 6-3. However, a different mandate, which forces Medicare/Medicaid healthcare workers to be vaccinated, was approved with a 5-4 vote. The healthcare worker mandate would be subject to exemptions, such as religious reasons.
The ruling focused primarily on the boundaries on what agencies can impose sweeping mandates. Court documents show that the lawsuit outlined how OSHA had overstepped their authority on the matter, not on the effectiveness of the vaccines themselves. “They are only about whether CMS has the statutory authority to force healthcare workers, by coercing their employers, to undergo a medical procedure they do not want and cannot undo. Because the Government has not made a strong showing that Congress gave CMS that broad authority, I would deny the stays pending appeal,” the document reads.
In the end, OSHA was not granted the power to enforce such a mandate. The court wrote, “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.”
The mandate would have affected around 80 million Americans, ABC noted. Despite using an emergency process, OSHA was denied extending its power beyond Congress’s assigned. However, this power can only be exerted if the Labor Secretary allows it, which is lengthy. Biden’s “sweeping” mandate will not take effect for the time being.