On January 13, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden Administration from enforcing a vaccine-or-testing mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees. However, the court is allowing the Administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most healthcare workers at facilities receiving federal money to be vaccinated.
The court’s majority concluded the Administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) vaccine-or-test rule on businesses with at least 100 employees. The final vote tally in the employer mandate case was 6 to 3, with only liberal Justices in dissent. The vote regarding healthcare workers was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh joining the liberal Justices to form a majority.
In its ruling on the employer vaccine mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees, the court wrote:
"Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category."
The employer mandate would have required all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. There were exceptions for workers with religious objections and those who do not come into close contact with other people at their jobs, like those who work from home or exclusively outdoors.