The Supreme Court is blocking Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses, supporting the healthcare workers rule

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A lone protester stands before the U.S. Supreme Court as he listens to arguments against the Biden administration’s national mandate to vaccinate or test COVID-19 in Washington, January 7, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its extensive vaccination or testing requirements for large private companies, but allowed similar requirements for healthcare facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid payments.

The ruling was made three days after the entry into force of the emergency measures of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

This mandate required that workers in companies with 100 or more employees be vaccinated or submit a negative Covid test weekly to enter the workplace. It also required unvaccinated workers to wear masks indoors at work.

OSHA, which is responsible for workplace safety for the Department of Labor, has issued mandates within its emergency mandates set by Congress. OSHA can shorten the normal regulatory process, which can take years, if the Minister of Labor finds that a new standard of safety in the workplace is needed to protect workers from serious danger.

The Biden administration argued before the High Court on Friday that rules were needed to address the “serious danger” posed by the Covid pandemic. Liberal judges, who are clearly in favor of the government’s position, highlighted the devastating death toll of the pandemic and the unprecedented wave of infection that has spread across the country due to the omicron version.

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But a conservative 6-3 court majority has expressed deep skepticism about the federal government’s move.

Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush, said during the dispute that he found it difficult to argue that the 1970 law governing OSHA “gives freedom to the agencies to adopt such a broad regulation.”

Vaccine or testing rules have faced a series of lawsuits from 27 states with Republic Attorneys General or Governors, private companies, religious groups, and national industry groups such as the National Retail Federation, the American Truck Association, and the National Federation of Independent Companies.

The powers were the most extensive use of federal government power to protect workers from Covid since the start of the pandemic.

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