The highest court in the United States rules that the Biden administration has overstepped its authority in trying to advance the rule for large employers.
The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked Joe Biden’s efforts to demand that employees at large companies be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly tests, a move the U.S. president called “common sense.”
At the same time, the highest court ruled on Thursday in favor of allowing the federal government to issue a mandate to vaccinate most of the country’s healthcare workers.
The court, which has a conservative majority, said the Biden administration had overstepped its authority in seeking to enforce the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule requiring workers at U.S. companies with at least 100 employees to be vaccinated or tested weekly.
Over 80 million people are believed to have been affected.
“OSHA has never imposed such a mandate before. Neither does Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted important legislation on the COVID-19 pandemic, it has refused to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has enacted here, ”the court wrote in an unsigned notice.
“Rather, it is a significant encroachment on the lives – and health – of a large number of employees. “
The Supreme Court ruling comes as coronavirus infections linked to the highly contagious variant of Omicron increase in the United States, where COVID-19 has already killed more than 845,000 people – the highest death toll in the world .
The cases also highlight how controversial the issue of mandatory vaccinations has become in the country, where many Republicans have criticized mandates imposed by governments and businesses.
The White House had said the two terms would save lives and strengthen the U.S. economy by increasing the number of Americans vaccinated by the millions, while the challengers argued that federal agencies had overstepped their authority by issuing the warrants without authorization. specific to Congress.
In a statement released Thursday, Biden said the Supreme Court ruling upholding the mandate of the health care vaccines “will save lives: the lives of patients who seek treatment in medical institutions, as well as the lives of doctors, nurses and others who work there ”.
The mandate calls for the immunization of approximately 10.3 million workers in approximately 76,000 healthcare facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes that serve the elderly, disabled and low-income Americans.
But Biden said he was “disappointed that the Supreme Court chose to block vital common sense requirements for employees of large companies which were squarely based on both science and law ”.
“This emergency standard allowed employers to require vaccinations or allow workers to refuse to be vaccinated, provided they are tested once a week and wear a mask at work: a very modest burden,” indicates its press release.
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3, with the six conservative majority judges and three dissenting liberal justices, to block the workplace’s broader mandate.
The vote was 5-4 to allow the reign of healthcare workers, with two Tories, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the Liberals in the majority.
Over 208 million Americans, 62.7% of the population, are fully vaccinated, and more than a third of them have received booster shots, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).