Supreme Court Splits On Vaccine Mandate Rulings
Supreme Court Splits On Vaccine Mandate Rulings
Since the OSHA vaccine mandates were supposed to start last week, everyone has been watching the Supreme Court for their anticipated ruling on the mandate cases.
Well, today the Supreme Court finally gave the private businesses and the healthcare industry in this country an answer. And it was a split decision between the two cases.
In National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which was the case revolving around the “vax or test” mandate for all private businesses with 100 or more employees, the Supreme Court officially stayed the mandate in a 6-3 ruling. Even though the case has now been formally sent back to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the opinions given leave little to the imagination as to what would happen if the case ends up in front of SCOTUS again.
The 6-3 decision in the case is pretty much how people thought the ruling would break down. The three leftist justices were willing to extend government control over private businesses. The six other justices were not. The long and the short of it – OSHA does not have these powers explicitly granted to them by Congress, and the spread of the virus is NOT limited to the workplace.
Justice Gorsuch's concurring op in the OSHA case, which is joined by Justices Thomas and Alito, is about the major questions doctrine and the nondelegation doctrine, which he presents as a "heads I win, tails you lose" combination. pic.twitter.com/rjnKBXFWjs
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) January 13, 2022
The second case, Biden v. Missouri, dealt with healthcare workers in facilities that accept Medicaid and Medicare payments. Here, the Supreme Court split 5-4 in favor of the mandate, with the rationale being “he who pays the bills makes the rules.”
In an unsigned opinion, the court emphasized that a key responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services is “to ensure that the healthcare providers who care for Medicare and Medicaid patients protect their patients’ health and safety.” To do so, HHS has long required those providers to comply with a variety of conditions if they want to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding. Because COVID-19 “is a highly contagious, dangerous, and — especially for Medicare and Medicaid patients — deadly disease,” HHS determined that a vaccine mandate was necessary to protect patients because it would decrease the chances that health care workers would both contract the virus and pass it on to their patients. Such a mandate, the court wrote, “fits neatly within” the power given to HHS by Congress.”
The dissenting justices were Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Barrett, who argued in a dissent authored by Thomas, that if HHS wanted the mandate, Congress needed to authorize it.
Thomas complained that the Biden administration “proposes to find virtually unlimited vaccination power, over millions of healthcare workers, in” what he described as a “hodgepodge” of statutes – “in definitional provisions, a saving clause, and a provision regarding long-term care facilities’ sanitation procedures.” The Biden administration had not adequately explained, as far as Thomas was concerned, why Congress would have given HHS such power in relatively minor provisions. And indeed, Thomas noted, if Congress had wanted to give HHS the power to impose a vaccine mandate, “it would have done what it has done elsewhere — specifically authorize one.”
While the Supreme Court may have found legal standing for the healthcare mandate, the practical effect of that mandate is pretty ugly.
We've lost 49,000 staffed hospital beds in the last 365 days and 16,000 in the last 30 days, and the Biden admin is celebrating SCOTUS letting them fire nurses and doctors who have already had COVID a couple times for declining a vaccine that does not reduce Omicron transmission. pic.twitter.com/AhuHG8NQYq
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) January 13, 2022
As Allahpundit on Hot Air points out, given the current crisis in hospital staffing, Biden could just withdraw the mandate. And pigs might fly. So the mandate goes forward, those who are unvaccinated are fired, and those who are sick are forced back to work. That’s going fantastically well in the state of Washington.
MORE: MultiCare confirmed they released 55 staff due to @GovInslee's vaccine mandate.
They also said that 202 beds are occupied by patients who needn't be there.
Due to nursing staffing shortages at other facilities — like elder care facilities — they can't be released.
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) January 13, 2022
But back to the Supreme Court. As expected, the left is crying loudly. Jen Psaki, for her part, tried deflecting to a future statement by Joe Biden, and then saying that he would be talking to private companies in order to encourage them to push their own mandate.
Without the backing of Big Daddy Government wielding a stick behind them, does the White House really think that businesses with 100 or more employees will insist on their workers being vaccinated, in this job market? It seems likely that most businesses will quietly revise or drop their mandates without fanfare or notice by the media.
Between Kamala Harris’s disasterous word salad interview, Joe Biden’s shouting at cameras on Capitol Hill, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema giving a speech on the Senate floor saying that she is an absolute no on killing the filibuster, followed by this Supreme Court ruling… it’s fair to say that the Biden-Harris administration has had a VERY bad day.
Let’s go, Brandon!