The Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government does not have the power to enforce a vaccine mandate on private businesses and their workers without an act of Congress.
President Biden has rolled out a mandate for businesses with 100 workers or more to require their workers to be vaccinated for COVID, with OSHA being the government body tasked with enforcing that mandate.
In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that current law does not allow for that to happen.
“The court in both these cases focused on statutory grounds and the intent of Congress and not so much on the constitutionality of either of these,” said Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita on 93 WIBC’s Tony Katz and The Morning News.
What the means, he says, is that the Supreme Court did not consider the constitutionality of the mandate, but rather whether the mandate holds up under current law already on the books. The other case Rokita refers to is the federal mandate for healthcare workers at entities that receive federal funding, which was upheld by the high school 5-4.
In the case of the federal mandate on private businesses, the court says OSHA was never meant to enforce a vaccine mandate.
“They found that Congress never intended OSHA to cover public health,” Rokita added. “For employers to cover public health general outside the ‘workshop floor’.”
As for the healthcare mandate.
“They said, in fact, that Congress did specifically intent the Health and Human Services secretary to be worried about general public health,” Rokita said. “In fact so much that the HHS secretary didn’t need to promulgate rules for comment … that they could just go and edict this.”
Rokita said that there is likely no other avenue to take to try and overturn SCOTUS’s ruling on the healthcare mandate.
In regards to the mandate on private businesses, Rokita said that Congress could still pass a law to mandate businesses have workers be vaccinated, but that sort of measure likely does not have the votes to pass.
President Biden has acknowledged the ruling as a reality that it is now up to the states on whether to impose vaccine mandates on private businesses. In Indiana, there is a bill being pushed to limit how employers can require workers to get COVID shots.