Today, the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees at large businesses must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job.
However, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S.
That mandate required that workers at businesses with 100 or more employees must get vaccinated or submit a negative Covid test weekly to their employer It also required unvaccinated workers to wear masks indoors at work. The court’s concluded the administration overstepped its authority by attempt to impose the vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses. More than 80 million people would have been affected.
The rulings came three days after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency measure started to take effect.
The court wrote the following in an unsigned opinion, “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 court wrote.
OSHA, which is responsible for workplace safety for the Labor Department, issued the mandates under its emergency power established by Congress. OSHA is permitted to shortcut the normal rulemaking process, which normally takes years, if the Labor secretary determines a new workplace safety standard is necessary to protect workers from a grave danger.
The Biden administration recently argued before the high court that the rules were necessary to address the “grave danger” posed by the Covid pandemic.