Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Attorney General John O’Connor’s Effort to Block Vaccine Mandate for Private-Sector Employees and Healthcare Workers
JOHN M. O’CONNOR
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA
OKLAHOMA CITY – The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on halting the Biden Administration’s overreaching COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private sector employees and healthcare workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate, due to take effect Monday, would require all employees of businesses with 100 or more staff members – an estimated 80 million private-sector workers – to be vaccinated or tested weekly and wear a mask.
Attorney General John O’Connor and 26 other attorneys general assert that OSHA lacks the authority to impose the mandate.
“The Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate on private businesses is an abuse of federal power,” said Attorney General O’Connor. “Nothing in federal law gives OSHA the power to make personal healthcare decisions for all Americans who work at a company with at least 100 employees. I will continue to defend the rule of law against this abuse of power.”
Appearing before the Supreme Court Justices, Attorney Scott Keller, representing the National Federation of Independent Businesses, was the first to speak, followed by Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers, representing the States, including Oklahoma, challenging the mandate. Flowers argued that Congress did not grant OSHA unlimited and indiscriminate power to mandate the vaccination nationwide without even any opportunity for public comment.
In their brief seeking the stay, the attorneys general assert: “When the scope of OSHA’s workplace-related authority is properly defined, the Vaccine Mandate is blatantly illegal. The Mandate acknowledges that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is inherent in human interaction. … Thus, the danger arises not from work, but from routine human interaction. And so it is not work-related.”
“The States share OSHA’s strong interest in combatting the spread of a virus that has prematurely ended over three-quarters of a million American lives,” the attorneys general brief before the Supreme Court said. “But federal agencies cannot bend the law to pursue whatever means they think will most effectively bring about a worthy end.”
The Nation’s high court also heard oral arguments on halting the Biden Administration’s attempt to force COVID-19 vaccines on healthcare workers. The Court is expected to decide whether to issue a stay of the injunctions issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri blocking the vaccine mandate which requires vaccinations for workers in healthcare settings that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding (CMS).
The offices of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt presented the case opposing the CMS mandate on nearly every full-time employee, part-time employee, volunteer, and contractor working at a wide range of healthcare facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding.
The CMS mandate exceeds the agency’s statutory authority and violates the Social Security Act’s prohibition on regulations that control the hiring and firing of healthcare workers. It also violates multiple federal laws, the Spending Clause, the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, and the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.