A Victory for Liberty: SCOTUS Blocks Employer Vaccine Requirement
In a widely anticipated ruling last week, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Biden’s vaccine mandate for large employers, writing that the federal government had overstepped its authority. The 6-3 decision is proof that there are limits to the power of the federal government and the unprecedented pandemic is not a justification for ignoring them. Large employers are still free to set their own vaccine requirements, but the government cannot mandate them. In a separate 5-4 ruling, the Court left in place the mandate for health care facilities that receive federal funds.
The minority opinion, signed by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, expressed outrage that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was not given unlimited authority in these trying times. They considered OSHA’s founding directive – to ensure the health and safety of workers –sufficient to justify broad encroachment into the lives and health of more than 80 million employees.
Many have been willing to give up freedoms and the concept of federalism because of the unprecedented nature of the COVID virus, but once you give up these freedoms or state authority, you rarely, if ever, get them back. Thankfully, the Constitution still stands, and there are limits to the federal government’s authority and a division of power between the three branches even during a pandemic.