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Supreme Court Stops Biden Admin’s Vaccination-or-Testing Requirements On Employers

January 18, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday stopped the President Joe Biden administration’s vaccination-or-testing requirement on the nation’s largest employers.

The court allowed, however, the administration’s mandate for most health care workers at federally funded health care facilities to continue.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh were the only two justices in the majority on both orders while liberal Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan would have allowed the workplace requirements to continue.

In the blistering dissent, the justices said, “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,” they wrote. “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. As disease and death continue to mount, this Court tells the agency that it cannot respond in the most effective way possible.”

In September, Biden signed an executive order mandating that federal employees would need to be vaccinated as a way to control COVID-19 spread, and that companies with 100 or more employees would be required to ensure their employees are vaccinated or test negative at least once a week.

The rule would have impacted an estimated 80 million individuals.

Businesses and 27 Republican-led states asked the court to put on hold the proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s workplace requirements. The Michigan Legislature joined that stampede.

Michigan Agri-Business Association President Chuck Lippstreu welcomed the decision, saying the organization remains concerned about the impact of vaccine mandates imposed on truck drivers transiting the U.S.-Canada border.

“Businesses across Michigan continue to grapple with historic labor and supply chain crises, and a federal vaccine mandate would have created even more disruption,” he said in a statement. “… While we encourage Michiganders to get vaccinated on a voluntary basis, mandates will not further this goal and will create new disruption in the economy.”

Republican Attorney General candidate Tom Leonard, who is a former prosecutor and assistant attorney general, has called the mandate “unconstitutional” and he thanked the Supreme Court “for siding with the American people and the rule of law.”

Leonard said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel “owe countless Michigan families and businesses an apology.”

U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R), who introduced the No Vaccine Mandate Act in November to push back against the Biden administration’s “executive overreach,” said Americans should have the right to decide whether to vaccinate.

“Today’s ruling is a massive victory,” he said. “The court rightfully determined that the Biden administration went too far in trying to burden private businesses and force the vaccine on their employees.”

Wendy Block, a spokesperson with the Listen to MI Business coalition, said her group “strongly” supports the court’s decision, adding that the coalition continues to “encourage vaccines and the necessity of maintaining thoughtful safety protocols in the workplace.”

Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa said the ruling doesn’t change that “to put this pandemic behind us and keep people safe is to get American vaccinated.”

“Nor does it change the fact that it is Republican leaders, governors, senators and House members who continue to dangerously undermine vaccines, elevate anti-vaxxers, and echo conspiracy theories on a daily basis to cater to a fringe, unvaccinated group,” he added.

Elizabeth Giannone, Michigan GOP’s communications manager, called it a “big win” for Michigan’s economy, noting that it’s “clear mandates are not the answer” as they’ve wreaked “havoc on hospitals and businesses and they infringe on our personal freedoms.”

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