Supreme Court makes split decision on vaccine mandates
The nation’s highest court blocked the Biden administration’s order that employees at large businesses must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or test weekly and wear masks. The conservative majority decided the administration exceeded its authority by trying to use the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to enforce the rule. The mandate would have affected roughly 80 million people who work at businesses with 100 or more employees. The court’s three liberal justices would have allowed the rule to take effect.
What about the healthcare mandate? Justices ruled 5-4 to uphold the requirement for healthcare providers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The mandate, which allows medical and religious exceptions, applies to at least 76,000 healthcare facilities and providers that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the liberal justices to provide the majority ruling. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito wrote dissenting opinions, both of which Justices Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett signed.
Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s overview in Liberties about the arguments the Supreme Court considered.
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