The Supreme Court in Washington overturns the vaccination requirement imposed by President Joe Biden for companies with 100 or more employees. However, the highest American court allows the federal government to force medical professionals to be vaccinated against Covid.
A good politician knows: You have to celebrate a success, after all it could be your last. So, in a statement Thursday, Joe Biden first mentioned the decision by the Supreme Court in Washington not to overturn his government’s public health vaccination requirement. This verdict, which affects more than 10 million people, saves lives, wrote the American President. “We will enforce it!”
Alone: compulsory vaccination in the health sector is just one pillar of Biden’s strategy to combat Covid. In September of last year, he also announced that the federal government would force all companies with 100 or more employees to either have all employees vaccinated against Covid or at least to carry out regular mass tests.
The Supreme Court overturned this order on Thursday, to Biden’s great disappointment. The national Ministry of Labor is not allowed to enforce the compulsory vaccination that came into force on Monday, which would have affected large parts of the private sector.
Chief of Staff Klain chatted from the school
The Supreme Court’s decision came as no surprise. At a hearing last week, representatives of the conservative court majority openly questioned whether the federal government had the authority to take such far-reaching steps. Chairman John Roberts recalled that White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain indirectly described the solution found on Twitter as “the ultimate workaround”. “And I wonder what are they trying to avoid?” Roberts had said.
Hey, remember when White House chief of staff Ron Klain approvingly re-tweeted a statement that “OSHA doing this vaxx mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is the ultimate work-around for the Federal govt to require vaccinations”? pic.twitter.com/EmFMd37X6I
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) January 13, 2022
According to the verdict, the Minister of Labor was tasked by Congress with ensuring a safe environment at a workplace in the private sector. For this purpose, the new department OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) was created in the ministry in the early 1970s. However, OSHA has no authority to impose generally applicable health measures. A majority of the court held that the authority was not created to make vaccination compulsory for 84 million people in response to a global pandemic.
The vaccination requirement had been opposed by a broad coalition of business associations and Republican politicians. Even consensus-minded governors like Asa Hutchinson of the state of Arkansas called on the business community to ignore federal government orders. Donald Trump, the unofficial leader of the Republican Party, congratulated the Supreme Court in a statement. He wrote that the “unconstitutional” order of his former opponent Biden would have destroyed the American economy even more.
Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson says businesses in his state “should wait until they get the Supreme Court decision” before complying with the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. Adding, “of course that’s an individual business decision.” https://t.co/BqMK36rkKq #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/75PAq3jTv2
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) January 9, 2022
The Supreme Court, however, refrained from ideologically justifying the ruling on compulsory vaccination in the private sector. The conservative majority, which provides six out of nine judges, rather argued with the classic democratic principle of separation of powers.
Two of those judges — John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh — also switched sides to join the three left-wing justices in supporting mandatory health care vaccinations. According to the ruling, the federal government has the task of monitoring the “health and safety” of patients who are insured through the state health insurance companies Medicare and Medicaid. Therefore, the Ministry of Health can force medical professionals to be vaccinated against Covid.