Supreme Court Blocks Biden Vaccine Mandate for Businesses

dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News

HEALTH:

Jan. 13, 2022 — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large businesses but said a similar one may continue while challenges to the rules move through lower courts.

The vote was 6-3 to reject the large business mandate and 5-4 to allow a similar mandate to continue for health care workers . The only affected are health care workers in facilities that receive federal money via Medicare or Medicaid. However, this includes large swathes of the country’s health care sector.

Biden’s proposed vaccine mandate for businesses covered every company with more than 100 employees. It would require those businesses to make sure employees were either vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19.

The court characterized the plan as a “blunt Instrument” and ordered that employers ensure employees were vaccinated or tested for COVID-19.

“OSHA never has imposed such a mandate. Congress has not yet. 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 majority wrote.

The court said the mandate is “no ‘everyday exercise of federal power.’ It is instead a significant encroachment into the lives — and health — of a vast number of employees.”

Biden, in a statement following the rulings, said when he first called for the mandates, 90 million Americans were unvaccinated. Today fewer than 35 million are.

“Had my administration not put vaccination requirements in place, we would be now experiencing a higher death toll from COVID-19 and even more hospitalizations,” he said. He said that the mandate for businesses was a “very small burden” since it didn’t require vaccination but testing or vaccination.

Karen Harned was the executive director of the Small Business Legal Centre of the National Federation for Independent Businesses. She praised the decision.

“Small businesses are trying to recover from nearly two years of severe business disruptions. They don’t need a mandate that will cause them more problems,” she stated.

NFIB is one of the original plaintiffs to challenge the mandate.

Anthony Kreis, PhD, a constitutional law professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, said the ruling shows “the court fails to understand the unparalleled situation the pandemic has created and unnecessarily hobbled the capacity of government to work.

“It is hard to imagine a situation in dire need of swift action than a national public health emergency, which the court’s majority seems to not appreciate.”

The American Medical Association seems to agree. While applauding the decision on the health care mandate, association President Gerald Harmon, MD, said in a statement he is “deeply disappointed that the Court blocked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 vaccination and testing for large businesses from moving forward.”

“Workplace transmission has been a major factor in the spread of COVID-19,” Harmon said. “Now more than ever, workers in all settings across the country need commonsense, evidence-based protections against COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death — particularly those who are immunocompromised or cannot get vaccinated due to a medical condition.”

While the Biden administration argued that COVID-19 is an “occupational hazard” and therefore under OSHA’s power to regulate, the court said it did not agree.

“Although COVID-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most. COVID-19 can and does spread at home, in schools, during sporting events, and everywhere else that people gather,” the justices wrote.

That kind of universal risk, they said, “is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases.”

But in their dissent, justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan said COVID-19 spreads “in confined indoor spaces, so causes harm in nearly all workplace environments. And in those environments, more than any others, individuals have little control, and therefore little capacity to mitigate risk.”

That means, the minority said, that COVID-19 “is a menace in work settings.”

OSHA, they said, is mandated to “protect employees” from “grave danger” from “new hazards” or exposure to harmful agents. COVID-19 certainly qualifies as that.

“The court’s order seriously misapplies the applicable legal standards,” the dissent says. “And in so doing, it stymies the federal government’s ability to counter the unparalleled threat that COVID-19 poses to our nation’s workers.”

On upholding the vaccine mandate for health care workers, the court said the requirement from the Department of Health and Human Services is within the agency’s power.

“After all, ensuring that providers take steps to avoid transmitting a dangerous virus to their patients is consistent with the fundamental principle of the medical profession: first, do no harm,” the justices wrote. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Cohen Barrett, and Amy Cohen Barrett dissent from the majority’s decision. They stated that Congress did not intend for the department to have this power.

” If Congress wanted [HHS] to give the authority to impose a national vaccine mandate and alter the balance between the federal government and states, it would have stated so clearly. The justices stated that it did not.

Read More

For mor dWeb.News Health and Medical News at https://dweb.news/news-sections/health-medical-news/

The post Supreme Court Blocks Biden Vaccine Mandate for Businesses appeared first on dWeb.News dWeb.News from Daniel Webster Publisher dWeb.News – dWeb Local Tech News and Business News

dWeb.NewsRead More

Similar Posts