The U.S. Supreme Court acted swiftly to block the enforcement of President Biden’s attempt to impose a sweeping Covid-vaccine mandate on large employers that would have impacted 84 million Americans. This is welcome news.
Biden, in an effort to coerce holdouts into getting vaccinated, tried to claim OSHA emergency powers to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to force workers to take the Covid vaccines or submit to weekly testing. The rule would have applied to two-thirds of private employers, making it unprecedented in scope.
In the 6–3 decision (with the liberal bloc predictably dissenting), justices granted a stay that prevents the Biden administration from implementing the rule, determining that the National Federation of Independent Businesses and 27 states challenging the rule would be likely to prevail on the merits.
The Biden order rested on a rarely deployed vehicle available to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration known as the Emergency Temporary Standard, which provides a fast-track process for implementing rules, bypassing the normal public-comment period. The majority pointed out that, of the nine previous times since its creation in 1970 that OSHA cited the standard (prior to the coronavirus pandemic), six rules have been challenged in court, and only one use had been fully upheld. None of the prior uses had been as broad as what Biden was attempting.