Supreme Court blocks Joe Biden’s Covid vaccination mandate for US businesses

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The Supreme Court voted 6-3 to block the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for large employers (Picture: Getty Images)

The Supreme Court has blocked President Joe Biden’s mandate for large US employers to enforce a coronavirus vaccine or testing policy.

The vote on Thursday afternoon was 6-3, with liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting.

‘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,’ the court stated in its opinion.

‘Requiring the vaccination of 84million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.’

In their dissent, Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor wrote: ‘When we are wise, we know enough to defer on matters like this one. When we are wise, we know not to displace the judgments of experts, acting within the sphere Congress marked out and under Presidential control, to deal with emergency conditions. Today, we are not wise.

‘In the face of a still-raging pandemic, this Court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed.’

Biden’s mandate to employers would have required workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or wear masks and provide tests on a weekly basis, with exceptions for workers who do not come in close contact with others or with religious objections. Employers would not have been required to pay for the tests.

The mandate on wearing masks and keeping records would have partially gone into effect on Monday. The Biden administration had stated it would enforce testing starting on February 9.

Meanwhile, the high court allowed the Biden administration’s mandate requiring health care workers at facilities getting Medicare and Medicaid money to be vaccinated. That vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts Jr and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the liberal justices.

‘The challenges posed by a global pandemic do not allow a federal agency to exercise power that Congress has not conferred upon it. At the same time, such unprecedented circumstances provide no grounds for limiting the exercise of authorities the agency has long been recognized to have,’ the court said.

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