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Supreme Court Blocks Biden's National Vaccine Mandate, OKs Healthcare Mandate

Justices deliver outcomes on the Biden administration’s Covid-19 mandates. It was a mixed bag for Biden but he lost the big one.
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Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

Two Rulings 

  • The Supreme Court shot down Biden's vaccine mandate requiring vaccines or weekly testing for all businesses with 100 or more employees. This would have applied to an estimated 84 million workers.
  • The Supreme Court upheld a vaccine mandate for more than 10 million healthcare workers whose facilities participate in Medicare and Medicaid. 

Biden v. Missouri

Inquiring minds are reading Biden v. Missouri for an explanation of the Healthcare mandate result. 

First, we agree with the Government that the Secretary’s rule falls within the authorities that Congress has conferred upon him. 

 Congress has authorized the Secretary to impose conditions on the receipt of Medicaid and Medicare funds that “the Secretary finds necessary in the interest of the health and safety of individuals who are furnished services.” 42 U. S. C. §1395x(e)(9).* COVID–19 is a highly contagious, dangerous, and—especially for Medicare and Medicaid patients—deadly disease. The Secretary of Health and Human Services determined that a COVID–19 vaccine mandate will substantially reduce the likelihood that healthcare workers will contract the virus and transmit it to their patients.  

Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorush, and Barrett dissented.

National Federation of Independent Business v. OSHA

To understand why Biden lost his OSHA mandate, please consider National Federation of Independent Business v. OSHA

The Act empowers the Secretary to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures.  

It is telling that OSHA, in its half century of existence, has never before adopted a broad public health regulation of this kind—addressing a threat that is untethered, in any causal sense, from the workplace. This “lack of historical precedent,” coupled with the breadth of authority that the Secretary now claims, is a “telling indication” that the mandate extends beyond the agency’s legitimate reach.  

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 question before us is not how to respond to the pandemic, but who holds the power to do so. The answer is clear: Under the law as it stands today, that power rests  with the States and Congress, not OSHA. In saying this much, we do not impugn the intentions behind the agency’s mandate. Instead, we only discharge our duty to enforce the law’s demands when it comes to the question who may govern the lives of 84 million Americans.

Losing the Big One

Justices Byeyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented.

Thus, while winning the narrower case 5-4, Biden lost the big one 6-3. 

Both outcomes were as expected in this corner. 

Biden Calls on Employers to Enforce His Act


The lead image was clipped from the above video

As noted in this corner previously, companies do have the power to set work rules for their company.

We can agree or disagree with corporate rules, but it is clearly their right.

Thus it is not at all surprising to discover Biden calls on employers to mandate vaccines despite Supreme Court ruling

Biden said the Supreme Court ruling “does not stop me from using my voice as President to advocate for employers to do the right thing to protect Americans’ health and economy.” 

“I call on business leaders to immediately join those who have already stepped up – including one third of Fortune 100 companies – and institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers, and communities,” Biden added in his statement.

He called the OSHA mandate a commonsense requirement and a "modest burden" on workers. 

This mandate and pressure will not go over well with a substantial majority of the population. 

Biden would be wise to drop the issue. Instead, he pressed on.

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