The US Supreme Court has shut down the Biden Administration’s enforcement of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule that requires employees of some companies to receive COVID-19 vaccinations or lose their jobs. The rule would affect more than 80 million people nationwide.
Last fall, the Biden Administration called for an OSHA rule requiring companies with 100 employees or more to require their workers to receive vaccinations for COVID-19, or submit to weekly testing and wear a mask at work or risk losing their jobs. Enforcement of that rule was slated to begin this month.
On Jan. 13 however, the Supreme Court ruled to stop enforcement of that directive by a 6-3 majority on grounds that it oversteps OSHA’s authority. The ruling left in place a mandate requiring vaccinations for health care workers nationwide.
“Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization,” the Court’s written opinion said. “Contrary to the dissent’s contention, imposing a vaccine mandate on 84 million Americans in response to a worldwide pandemic is simply not part of what the agency was built for.”
Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan disagreed.
“In the face of a still-raging pandemic, this Court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed,” their dissenting opinion said. “It (the Court) undercuts the capacity of the responsible federal officials, acting well within the scope of their authority, to protect American workers from grave danger.”
Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Office (CEO) Morris Porton applauded the Court’s majority ruling.
“From the Chamber’s perspective we always look to protect the rights of business owners to make their own decisions for what is best for their companies,” Porton said. We all know this is a serious situation on the virus and want everyone to have the opportunity to protect themselves by vaccinations if that is their choice – again we believe in choices for the workers.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the ruling reflects what he has argued since the OSHA mandate was issued.
“In Florida, what we said was, nobody should be denied, earning a living based on these jabs,” DeSantis said. “That’s your choice. It’s a private choice. It is not something the government should be forcing.”