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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Supreme Court stays COVID-19 vaccine rule for US businesses

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees of large businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear masks at work.

Also, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the US.

The court order Thursday was a mixed bag for the administration’s efforts to boost vaccination rates among Americans during a spike in coronavirus cases.

The court’s conservative majority concluded that the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine-or-test rule on US businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people would have been affected.

“OSHA has never imposed such a mandate before. Neither has Congress. In fact, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, none of the measures similar to what OSHA has promulgated here has refused to implement it,” the conservatives wrote in an unsigned opinion.

In disagreement, the court’s three liberals argued that it was the court that was substituting its own decision with the decision of health experts. “Outside of its competence and without legal basis, the Court supersedes the decisions of government officials to respond to workplace health emergencies,” Justices Stephen Breuer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a joint dissent.

When drafting the OSHA rule, White House officials always anticipated legal challenges—and privately some doubted it could face them. The administration still sees the rule as a success that is already prompting millions of people to get vaccinated and for private businesses unaffected by the legal challenge to enforce their own requirements.

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Both rules were challenged by Republican-led states. In addition, business groups described the OSHA emergency regulation as too costly and workers likely to leave their jobs at a time when it is already difficult to find new employees.

The vaccine mandate that the court would allow to be enforced nationwide covers nearly all health care workers in the country. This applies to health care providers who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding, potentially affecting 76,000 health care facilities as well as home health care providers. The rule has medical and religious exemptions.

Decisions from federal appeals courts in New Orleans and St. Louis blocked mandates in nearly half of the states. The administration was already taking steps to implement it elsewhere.

In the case of health care, only Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito noted their dissent. “The challenges posed by a global pandemic do not allow a federal agency to exercise power that Congress has not granted to it. At the same time, such unprecedented circumstances do not provide any basis for limiting the practice of officers that the agency has long recognized, “the judges wrote in an unsigned opinion, in matters of health care” governing the latter principle. does”.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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