Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

The Supreme Court has stopped a major push from it Biden administration to strengthen the nation COVID-19 vaccination rate, a requirement that employees as a whole companies get a vaccine or test regularly and wear a mask at work.

At the same time, the court allows the administration to continue with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the United States. The court’s rulings on Thursday came during an increase in coronavirus cases caused by the omicron variant.

The Conservative majority of the court concluded that the administration exceeded its authority by trying to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. companies with at least 100 employees.

The Supreme Court has stopped the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees of large companies be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly tests and wear a mask at work. (AP)

More than 80 million people would have been affected, and OSHA had estimated that the rule would save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 admissions over six months.

“OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Neither has Congress. Although Congress has enacted substantive legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, it has refused to adopt any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here,” he wrote. the Conservatives in an unsigned statement.

In the dissent, the court’s three liberals argued that it was the court that was exaggerating by replacing its judgment with that of the health experts.

“It is beyond its jurisdiction and without legal basis that the court displaces the judgments of the government officials who have been given the responsibility to respond to health emergencies in the workplace,” Judges Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a joint dissent.

President Joe Biden said he was “disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common sense life-saving requirements for employees of large corporations based on both science and law.”

Sir. Biden urged companies to introduce their own vaccination requirements, noting that a third of Fortune 100 companies have already done so.

In drafting the OSHA rule, White House officials always foresaw legal challenges – and privately, there were some doubts that it could withstand them.

Nevertheless, the administration still sees the rule as a success by already getting millions of people vaccinated and encouraging private companies to implement their own requirements that are not affected by the legal challenge.

The OSHA ordinance had originally been blocked by a federal appeals court in New Orleans, and was then allowed to enter into force by a federal appeals panel in Cincinnati.

Both rules had been challenged by Republican-led states. In addition, occupational groups attacked the OSHA emergency regulation as too expensive and likely to cause workers to leave their jobs at a time when it is already difficult to find new employees.

The National Retail Federation, the country’s largest retail group, called the Supreme Court’s decision “a significant victory for employers.”

The vaccine mandate, which the court will allow to be enforced nationwide, was scrapped by 5-4 votes, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Judge Brett Kavanaugh joining the Liberals to form a majority.

The mandate covers virtually all healthcare professionals in the country that apply to providers who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding.

It affects 10.4 million workers at 76,000 health facilities as well as home care providers.

The rule has medical and religious exceptions.

The court’s ruling Thursday during an increase in coronavirus cases is a blow to the administration’s efforts to increase the vaccination rate among Americans. (AP)

Sir. Biden said the court ruling “will save lives.”

In an unsigned statement, the court wrote: “The challenges of a global pandemic do not allow a federal agency to exercise power that Congress has not granted it. At the same time, such unprecedented circumstances provide no reason to restrict the exercise of powers that the agency has long recognized. to have.”

It said that “the latter principle governs” in the field of health.

Judge Clarence Thomas wrote in the dissent that the case was about whether the administration has the authority “to force health professionals, by forcing their employers, to undergo a medical procedure they do not want and can not regret.”

He said the administration had not shown convincingly that Congress gave it that authority.

Judges Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett signed Justice Thomas’ statement.

Justice Alito wrote a separate dissent stating that the other three conservatives also joined.

Decisions by federal appellate courts in New Orleans and St. Louis Louis had blocked the mandate in about half of the states.

The administration was already taking steps to enforce it elsewhere.

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More than 208 million Americans, 62.7 percent of the population, are fully vaccinated, and more than a third of them have received booster shots, according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All nine judges have received booster shots.

The courthouse remains closed to the public, and lawyers and journalists are asked for negative test results before being allowed into the courtroom to quarrel, even though vaccinations are not required.

The judges heard arguments about the challenges last week. Their question then hinted at the divided verdict they handed down on Thursday.

A separate vaccine mandate for federal contractors put on hold after lower courts blocked it has not been considered by the Supreme Court.

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