Victory! SCOTUS Smacks Down Biden’s OSHA Vaccine Mandate

Around the globe, tyrannical policies and genocidal rhetoric from government officials related to Covid-19, vaccines, and the unvaccinated continue to crop up daily. However, the United States saw a victory this week with the Supreme Court releasing a brief 9-page Opinion that blocks the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) vaccine mandate.

To recap, in November, under the urgings of the Biden administration, OSHA released a mandate that required employers with 100+ employees to force their workforce to vaccinate. In the alternative, employers were permitted (but not required) to allow employees to test (at least) weekly for Covid-19 (at their own expense) and wear a mask while on the job. The policy would have forced employers to keep track of the statistics – employers who made innocent mistakes could be fined $13,532 per violation, and employers who willfully resisted could be fined $136,532 per violation.

Thankfully, this egregious assault on over 80 million American workers has been put to a halt by the Supreme Court this Thursday.

Breaking it Down…

The 6-3 per curium Opinion began with a brief explanation of OSHA’s power that immediately exposed the justice’s skepticism of the agency’s authority to issue the Mandate.

“OSHA is tasked with ensuring occupational safety… [OSHA standards] must be reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment.”

NFIB v. OSHA, 595 U. S. ____ (2022),  page 2 (citing 29 U.S.C. §651(b), §652(8)).

The Opinion noted that OSHA’s authority to issue “emergency temporary standards” (ETS) circumvents the agency’s usual “rigorous process” and is “permissible… only in the narrowest of circumstances.” In fact, OSHA has only utilized its ETS authority nine times in its fifty-year history. Six of the ETSs were challenged in court, with only one surviving completely in tact.

The Court took issue with the Mandate’s broad scope claiming it “operates as a blunt instrument” that “draws no distinctions based on industry or risk of exposure to COVID-19.”

They rightfully framed the Mandate as harsh to both employers and employees alike – potentially leaving unvaccinated employees without a workplace and exposing employers to hefty fines. The Court also noted that so-called exemptions carved out for online workers and outdoor workers were “largely illusory,” as they only applied to those who spent 100% of their time in either local.

A. The S. Ct. Explored the Case’s Prior Court History  

When the case went to the Fifth Circuit, the Court held that the mandate was likely outside of OSHA’s statutory authority. The Court also raised “separation-of-powers concerns in the absence of a clear delegation from Congress” and questioned whether the Mandate had been properly tailored to address the various risks faced by differing workplaces.

Later, the Fifth Circuit’s ruling was overturned by a three-judge panel from the Sixth Circuit in a 2-1 decision that held “that OSHA’s mandate was likely consistent with the agency’s statutory and constitutional authority.”

B. The S. Ct. found that the mandate likely exceeded OSHA’s statutory bounds.

With a ruling that closely followed the Fifth Circuit’s logic, the Supreme Court found that applicants requesting a stay on the OSHA mandate “are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Secretary lacked authority to impose the mandate.”

“Administrative agencies are creatures of statute. They accordingly possess only the authority that Congress has provided.”  

Id. at 5.

The Court held that the key question was whether OSHA’s statute plainly authorized the Mandate. It found that it did not.

“The Act empowers the Secretary to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures. … [N]o provision of the Act addresses public health more generally, which falls outside of OSHA’s sphere of expertise.”

Id. at 6 (emphasis added by S.Ct.)

The majority disagreed with the Solicitor General’s argument that COVID-19 counted as a work-related danger, finding rather that it is a “universal risk” on par with crime, air pollution, and other communicable diseases. Therefore, the majority found that the mandate possessed the character of a general health measure.

“Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life – simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock – would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.”

Id. at 7.

The majority made sure to point out that unlike other typical OSHA mandates dealing with workplace habits, a vaccination “cannot be undone at the end of the workday.”

However, the Court also noted that OSHA does have some authority to regulate occupation-specific risks related to COVID-19.

“Where the virus poses a special danger because of particular features of an employee’s job or workplace, targeted regulations are plainly permissible.”

Id. at 7.

Ultimately, the Court stated that the Biden administration’s purported goal of saving lives versus the plight of employees and employers was beyond its purview. It claimed that weighing such a tradeoff, was “the responsibility of those chosen by the people through democratic processes.”

For its part, the Court found that the mandate exceeded OSHA’s statutory authority, and therefore, it granted a stay.

What Lies Ahead…

Image from Unsplash.

In the long battle against Covid-19 tyranny, it is important to celebrate milestone victories. However, it is also important to assess what lies ahead. Today’s Supreme Court’s opinion was very narrow, and it will likely not be the end of the Biden Administration’s attempts to squeeze the unvaccinated.  

The Court’s ruling effectively held that OSHA does not have the authority for such a broad mandate. However, this does not mean that it would rule the same way if Congress attempted to pass a mandate under the commerce clause.

Furthermore, the Court went out of its way to mention that “targeted regulations” by OSHA for “special dangers” posed by COVID-19 are permissible. (There was an especially ominous line related to “particularly crowded or cramped environments…”)  

Finally, states still have the police power to implement a myriad of vaccine-related policies. And in states without rules against mandates, private companies could institute their own Covid-19 related policies.

Citizens will therefore continue to face regulations from liberal states, and we are all likely to feel the sting of a great many “targeted regulations” coming from OSHA in the near future.  

In sum, the United States finds itself at a critical juncture in its ongoing fight for freedom, and the importance of actively voicing your dissent against tyrannical COVID-19 policies remains at an all-time high.

Post by: CJ Fisher

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