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Supreme Court Blocks Vaccine Mandate for Large Employers

The U.S. Supreme Court today blocked a nationwide vaccine and testing mandate for large employers. It does, however, allow a vaccine mandate for more than 10 million health care workers to go into effect nationwide.

“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 unsigned opinion says.

The rule would impact some 84 million individuals and require private employers with 100 or more employees to ensure they are fully vaccinated or undergo regular testing and wear a face covering at work. There are exceptions for those with religious objections.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the private-employer rules in November. Several parts of the regulations, including a requirement for mask-wearing in the workplace by unvaccinated individuals, were set to take effect this week. However, the testing requirements weren’t scheduled to be enforced until next month.

The case will now go back into the Sixth Circuit for further consideration on the merits of the challenge consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision. Therefore, while blocked from going into effect, the ETS is not yet invalidated.