The U.S. Supreme Court has denied President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for more than 80 million American workers.
In a predictable 6-3 vote, the conservatives on the court indicated in a decision handed down Thursday that Biden could not go where Congress had not authorized a president to venture – even during a pandemic.
“The challenges posed by a global pandemic,” the majority said in its ruling, “do not allow a federal agency to exercise power that Congress has not conferred upon it.”
“The question before us is not how to respond to the pandemic, but who holds the power to do so,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in his own opinion in support of the majority. “The answer is clear: Under the law as it stands today, that power rests with the states and Congress, not OSHA,” or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Some of the loudest applause for the ruling came from Tallahassee, where Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has battled the Biden mandate in theory and in practice.
“We are excited that the Supreme Court rightly recognized the Biden administration’s overreach in trying to mandate vaccines through OSHA,” Taryn Fenske, DeSantis’ communications director said in a statement.
Prior to the ruling, during a visit to Panama City, DeSantis said he had hoped the court would agree with him and other GOP governors who fought Biden’s mandate.
“This OSHA mandate clearly exceeds the ability of Congress under the law or Constitution,” said DeSantis.
“If you believe … like the founding fathers believe, that the Constitution is one of limited and enumerated powers, you cannot authorize the federal government acting … like a state police power. This is, they’re saying they’re regulating business to impose a vaccine mandate because they know they couldn’t impose the vaccine mandate directly. So this is an attempted end-run around the constitutional structure.”
“It is not something the government should be forcing. And just think about what we’re seeing now,” DeSantis added.
“Before Biden the most cases in a day, I think, was like 265,000 cases nationwide. Now they have like 800[,000] and 900,000 a day. And so clearly the vax has not stopped people from being infected with Omicron. That is just clear as day. And so what is the basis of forcing somebody else to that?”
“They had said it would end COVID if you had it, Fauci said if 50% were vaccinated, you’d have no more surges. That’s what he said, you know, in the spring. That was wrong. So there’s no basis to be mandating this.” he continued.
By a 7-2 margin, however, the Supreme Court allowed the mandate to go forward for healthcare workers. The court found that those 10 million workers can be injected, whether they want to or not, because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides, at least in part, funding for their employers. The majority agreed that Congress did intend for CMS to maintain a healthy healthcare workforce.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.
They cited the same argument as the conservative majority did in the larger issue, which would have affected 84 million workers.
“If Congress had wanted to grant CMS authority to impose a nationwide vaccine mandate, and consequently alter the state-federal balance, it would have said so clearly. It did not,” Thomas wrote.
DeSantis and his administration will consider the next move, since Florida has enacted a state law that blocks vaccine mandates for all industries.
“We are disappointed about the CMS ruling and what it could mean for the livelihoods of doctors, nurses, and health professionals in our state,” Fenske added in a statement.
“As Florida’s prohibition on vaccine mandates remains in effect for all industries, we will be evaluating next steps for enforcement in the coming days.”
The governor also had weighed in on this in his comments earlier Thursday.
“The medical mandate for the nurses and the doctors … is absolutely insane,” said DeSantis. “Many of them have natural immunity.”
In other states, he added, “They have fired nurses for not having vax, even though most of them have natural immunity. So they fire them. But now they’re shorthanded. So what are they doing? They are bringing back on the job vaccinated nurses who are currently COVID positive.”
“So if you’re unvaccinated, naturally immune, and uninfected, they fire you. But if you’re COVID positive and vaxxed, which we know most of the people that are COVID positive now are vaxxed, they are going back on the job. It just shows you that CMS mandate is absolutely insane, especially given the ineffectiveness of these shots to actually stop transmission between individuals.”
“We’re gonna make sure we have protections for people, so that they don’t have their livelihoods ruined by an unconstitutional and really ham-handed federal mandate,” DeSantis continued.
“Clearly we can see in front of our eyes the ineffectiveness of what Biden’s trying to do, because you see an unprecedented amount of people getting this omicron. And of course, most of them have been vaccinated. So it’s not stopping the spread like they claimed, and there’s no basis to be able to deny someone that personal choice or their job based on it. … And we’ve got to stop using this as a weapon to wield against other people who are making choices that they think are right for them.”
Android Users, Click Here To Download The Free Press App And Never Miss A Story. It’s Free And Coming To Apple Users Soon