Biden Decries Supreme Court Ruling That Blocks Vaccine Rules for Workers

On Thursday, President Joe Biden reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision to place a stay on a rule requiring that workers at large companies get vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested for the virus weekly.

Biden said that he was “disappointed” in the Court’s ruling, describing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) rule for businesses with 100 workers or more as “life-saving” and a “modest burden” for workers to adhere to.

All six conservative bloc justices voted in favor of the stay on the rule, which is now being examined by lower courts for further scrutiny of its constitutionality. While those arguments continue, the OSHA rule will not be enforced, per the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The three liberal bloc dissenters argued that the majority had overstepped their legal authorityBy imposing the OSHA rule stay.

The majority imposes “a limit found no place in the governing statute,” the dissenting opinion stated.

In a second decision, the Court ruled that allow the enforcement of vaccine rules for health care workerswho are employed in facilities that receive Medicare/Medicaid funding. Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts joined liberal bloc justices in reaching this decision.

Biden praised the ruling on requirements for health care workers, saying that the rule his administration crafted “will save lives” of “patients who seek care in medical facilities, as well as the lives of doctors, nurses, and others who work there.” But the president disagreed with the Court’s decision on rules for workers at larger businesses.

“As a result of the Court’s decision, it is now up to States and individual employers to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees, and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers during this pandemic by requiring employees to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated,” Biden said.

He said:

I call on business leaders to immediately join those who have already stepped up – including one third of Fortune 100 companies – and institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers, and communities.

The Supreme Court has indicated its willingness to accept other vaccine rules and mandates at the state-level. The Court, for instance, voted in October to accept mandates at the state level. We refused to impose a suspension on a Maine vaccine mandate for health workers, allowing the state’s rule to remain in place while it was facing appeals challenges. The Court has refused to intervene in cases that relate to vaccine rules imposed in New York and Indiana.