‘This Is No “Everyday Exercise of Federal Power”‘

The U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed the Biden administration’s attempts to require weekly vaccine testing or mandatory vaccinations for employees in private companies with less than 100 employees.

A court order was released on Thursday afternoon. It stated that the secretary to labor doesn’t have the power and authority necessary to enforce such a mandate, without the authorization of Congress. The mandate was to be enforced by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which falls under the Department of Labor. It covered approximately 84 million American workers.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated in the order, “This isn’t an everyday exercise of federal authority.” OSHA has been given the authority to manage occupational hazards by Congress, but it is not authorized to oversee public health. The latter group includes the requirement for vaccination of approximately 84,000,000 Americans. This is simply due to the fact that they are employed by employers with over 100 employees.

The court also upheld Biden’s requirement that all health-care workers working in facilities with Medicare or Medicaid must be immunized. This narrower order is permissible because the Department of Health and Human Services has the authority to control the safety and health of those patients, according to the court.

It was always unlikely that the wider mandate which included private business entities would stand trial. Biden actually rejected the idea of a vaccine mandate in December 2020. He then changed his mind and issued it this September.

A three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel for the 5th Circuit blocked the mandate before it reached the Supreme Court. They called the mandate “fatally flawed” as well as “staggeringly wide”. As There are reasonsJacob Sullum of OSHA explained to the court that OSHA was called on to enforce regulations far beyond its normal authority.

Kavanaugh pointed out the exact same problem Thursday in his order.

“Administrative agents are created by statute.” He wrote that they have the same authority as Congress. He noted that Congress had passed several laws regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, but has “declined” to adopt any measure comparable to those OSHA has approved.

Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor argued in a dissent that OSHA was within its broad limits. “The administrative agency charged with ensuring health and safety in workplaces did what Congress commanded it to: It took action to address COVID–19’s continuing threat in those spaces.”

But saying that OSHA has the authority to regulate workplaces is not the same as saying that OSHA has the authority to regulate all aspects of every individual workers’ lives—not even during a pandemic. The Supreme Court reviewed the mandate extensively, with much attention to the so-called “major issues doctrine”. This aspect was crucial. Justice Neil Gorsuch argued that if there are ambiguities in Congress’s delegated powers to executive agency agencies, Congress needs to clarify whether they have expanded executive power beyond the legal limits.

Beyond the legal and constitutional questions, Biden’s mandate also raised worrying philosophical questions about the limits—or lack thereof—on government power and the ramifications of its use in these circumstances. It is dangerous to force vaccinations on an unwilling minority of citizens. There are reasonsRobby Soave of’s wrote it in The New York Times September. “The president should not—and most likely does not—have the power to unilaterally compel millions of private-sector workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs: Mr. Biden is presiding over a vast expansion of federal authority, one that Democrats will certainly come to regret the next time a Republican takes power.”

Final analysis: The bidding process for the private-employer mandate vaccine mandate by Biden lasted five months and exposed a lot of problems in the current federal government’s operation. This was a significant policy change that was not implemented by Congress’ legitimate legislative authority, but rather by the executive branch. The latter increasingly views its authority to cover anything not explicitly prohibited. Congress then watched and waited for the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the order. It effectively forced nine legal experts to perform their duties.

The outcome is the right one—Biden’s order was a breathtaking overreach of federal power into the affairs of private individuals and businesses—but this is, to paraphrase Kavanaugh, not how the everyday exercise of government should work.