Supreme Court Blocks Vaccine Rule for US Businesses

The Supreme Court has stopped a major push by the Biden administration that would’ve boosted the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rate and would’ve affected millions of lives. They put a halt to the requirement of employees at large businesses to get a vaccine or test regularly and wear a mask on the job.  

            AP News reports, though they stopped the vaccine mandate for small businesses, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S. The court’s orders on Thursday came during a spike in coronavirus cases caused by the omicron variant. The court’s conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. According to AP News, over 80 million people would have been affected and OSHA had estimated that the rule would save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over six months.

            The conservatives wrote in an unsigned opinion, saying “OSHA has never been before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here.”

            The court’s three liberals argued that it was the court that was overreaching by substituting its judgment for that of health experts. “Acting outside of its competence and without legal basis, the Court displaces the judgments of the Government officials given the responsibility to respond to workplace health emergencies,” Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a joint dissent.  

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