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SCOTUS blocks Biden’s private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate; AG Marshall, ALGOP congressional delegation celebrate ruling

Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a major defeat to President Joe Biden as it struck down his administration’s private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The mandate, implemented through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), forced businesses that employ more than 100 workers to force vaccination upon its workforce or subject them to regular virus testing.

The court voted six to three along ideological lines to halt the mandate’s enforcement.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in early November filed a legal challenge on behalf of the state against the president’s decree.

Marshall in a statement commended the court’s ruling prohibiting the president’s private employer vaccine edict from going into effect.

“I applaud the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay of Biden’s private-employer vaccine mandate, which affects the greatest number of Americans. This is a win for the Constitution over the most overreaching of Biden’s unlawful, unconstitutional, and un-American mandates, which sought to force some 80 million employees to submit to vaccinations or lose their jobs,” proclaimed Marshall. “As I noted when Alabama filed its legal challenge to the private-employer vaccine mandate, not only is this mandate based on a faulty public health premise—that workplace immunization will stop the spread of COVID-19—but it is based on an utterly flawed legal premise as well.”

He added, “As the Supreme Court majority opinion stated succinctly: ‘Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. [The private-employer vaccine mandate] certainly falls in the latter category.’

While the high court blocked the Biden administration’s OSHA decree, it upheld the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) health care worker vaccine mandate. In mid-November, the State of Alabama filed suit against the CMS mandate.

Marshall expressed his disappointment over the court’s decision allowing the health care worker mandate to remain in effect.

“I am, however, greatly disappointed with the Court’s decision regarding the Biden administration’s healthcare-worker vaccine mandate,” stated the attorney general. “As with the private-employer vaccine mandate, the healthcare-worker vaccine mandate far exceeded any power Congress gave the administration, and the mandate will cause many frontline healthcare workers to find new work, precisely at a moment when hospitals around the country are struggling to find doctors and nurses.”

Marshall indicated that by the Supreme Court upholding the mandate, its enforcement could hold adverse consequences for the state’s health care industry.

“By allowing this vaccine mandate to continue, the Court has further empowered the federal administrative state, eroded state sovereignty, and likely guaranteed worse health outcomes in Alabama and beyond, as overburdened healthcare workers are stretched thinner still,” asserted Marshall.

Republican-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who have served as swing votes in multiple cases, joined the court’s liberal justices in upholding the edict.

Marshall conveyed his support for the court’s conservative justices’ dissent in which they pointed to the constitutionally-limited powers of the federal government’s executive branch as to why they voted against the mandate’s enforcement.

The attorney general concluded, “As Justice Alito, joined by Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Barrett, explained in dissent: ‘Today’s decision will ripple through administrative agencies’ future decision making. The Executive Branch already touches nearly every aspect of Americans’ lives. . . . Neither CMS nor the Court articulates a limiting principle for why, after an unexplained and unjustified delay, an agency can regulate first and listen later, and then put more than 10 million healthcare workers to the choice of their jobs or an irreversible medical treatment.’”

Republican members of Alabama’s congressional delegation applauded the court striking down Biden’s private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

According to U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville), the Biden administration’s issuance of the mandate was a prime example of federal overreach.

“The Supreme Court made the right decision. The employer mandate issued by the Administration was too broad and heavy-handed – a one-size fits all requirement that did not take into account the realities of workplaces and our economy,” stated Aderholt. “I’m thankful we have a high court that will rein in this type of government overreach.”

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) declared the ruling to be a victory for personal health care autonomy.

“This decision from the Supreme Court is a huge win for limited government and individual liberty,” stated Palmer. “A person’s right to make their own health decisions does not disappear during a pandemic. This OSHA mandate was an egregious example of government overreach. No one should be compelled by law or burdensome regulation to receive a vaccine that they do not want, for whatever deeply held reason.”

He added, “The concurring opinion of the Court confirms the concerns a number of my colleagues and I raised in a letter to OSHA a few months ago. OSHA simply does not have the authority to mandate individuals to act against their personal beliefs and undergo forced vaccinations. As the opinion states: ‘[OSHA would have] almost unlimited discretion—and [there would be] no “specific restrictions” that … “fully constrai[n]” the agency.’”

 

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL