On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a blockbuster ruling on a Biden Administration rule requiring COVID-19 vaccination or testing for workers at large private sector companies.
The Supreme Court ruled against a controversial Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule requiring private sector employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that workers either show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or submit to weekly testing. The mandate technically went into effect on Monday, though OSHA previously said that the rule wouldn’t be enforced until early February.
The court found that OSHA lacked proper authority to issue the vaccine requirements as they fall outside of the scope of the workplace.
“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. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category,” the unsigned majority opinion stated.
Dissenting Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan wrote, “When we are wise, we know not to displace the judgments of experts, acting within the sphere Congress marked out and under Presidential control, to deal with emergency conditions. Today, we are not wise. In the face of a still-raging pandemic, this Court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed. As disease and death continue to mount, this Court tells the agency that it cannot respond in the most effective way possible.”
The looming vaccine mandate caused major uproar in the trucking industry since it was introduced in November, with many industry stakeholders concerned that the rule would push drivers to leave the industry and fracture an already struggling supply chain. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) warned that the vaccine mandate could force as many as 37% of truck drivers to leave the trucking industry entirely.
This is a developing story.