The Supreme Court has stymied President Biden’s vaccine mandate for large businesses, just days after it went into effect.
The high court voted 6-3 Thursday to stay a requirement issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for private businesses with 100 or more employees to have all workers either vaccinated or tested weekly.
The conservative-majority court said that even though Congress has given OSHA the power to govern dangers at work sites, “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, certainty falls in the latter category,” the opinion said, CNN reported.
The three dissenters — Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — wrote that the high court’s order “seriously misapplies the applicable legal standards” and makes it harder for the federal government to “counter the unparalleled threat” of the coronavirus.
The federal mandate for large businesses had begun just days before on Monday.
However, the court did approve the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for health care workers in a 5-4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts stepping away from the conservative majority by inferring vaccine mandates would work for that class of employees.
Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett dissented, questioning why “an agency can regulate first and listen later, and then put more than 10 million health care workers to the choice of their jobs or an irreversible medical treatment,” CNN reported.