Supreme Court strikes down Biden's vax mandate. About damn time.
Summary: Biden tried to make employees get vaxxed by making employers make employees get vaxxed. Via OSHA. If this sounds confusing it's because it's trying to get around the Constitution and the Separation of Powers, which the SCOTUS identified and subsequently struck down. The five conservative justices plus John Roberts voted in favor of striking down the mandate, meanwhile the three leftist (read: dumb) justices voted against striking it down. The majority basically argued that OSHA can't do things that Congress doesn't want it to do and also OSHA isn't Congress and the SCOTUS isn't Congress. The minority got mad that unelected bureaucrats aren't Congress and also that SCOTUS isn't Congress.
Bottom Line: OSHA is no longer allowed to deprive tens of millions of Americans of their personal liberty just because Joe Biden is power hungry and his presidency is a failure.
The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that it has stayed Joe Biden’s employer vaccine mandate in a 6-3 ruling. The majority opinion called the regulation “a blunt instrument” and that “It draws no distinctions based on industry or risk of exposure to COVID–19.” This case, which is officially called National Federation of Independent Businesses v. OSHA, emerged from a series of court challenges in the Fifth Circuit, which initially stayed the mandate, and were then consolidated in the Sixth Circuit, which lifted the stay. This regulation was not to be taken lightly; a standard violation would have resulted in a fine of up to $13,700 and a willful violation $137,000. These fines would be paid by the employer and the employee would have to be fired. The court basically ruled that the Secretary of OSHA “lacked the authority to impose the mandate. Administrative agencies are creatures of statute. They accordingly possess only the authority that Congress has provided.” The majority argued that it was not an everyday exercise of federal power, as is required by OSHA’s enabling statute, but instead a “significant encroachment into the lives—and health—of a vast number of employees.”
The court finds that OSHA exercised “powers of vast economic and political significance,” which is generally Congress’ job. Congress can delegate some power to executive agencies, but Congress needs to make clear what its intentions are for the delegation. Therefore, the question is whether OSHA was authorized to exercise this extraordinary power. The court finds that it does not. As it says, “The [Occupational Safety and Health] Act empowers the Secretary [of OSHA] to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures.” The Solicitor General (basically the government’s Supreme Court lawyer) agreed that “OSHA is limited to regulating ‘work-related dangers’ … She
instead argues that the risk of contracting COVID–19 qualifies as such a danger.” The majority says that although the risk of contracting COVID is a risk at many workplaces, “it is not an occupational hazard in most. COVID–19 can and does spread at home, in schools, during sporting events, and everywhere else that people gather. That kind of universal risk is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases.”
Basically, the court is saying that just because something is a health risk and it happens to also be a risk in a workplace doesn’t mean it is a workplace risk. For example, obesity can be a public health risk, but that doesn’t mean that an office worker shouldn’t be allowed to get chips from the cafeteria. Actually, that analogy isn’t right. What OSHA is trying to do is say, “because obesity is a public health risk, your employer has to ensure that you never eat chips again or he has to fire you and be fined $130k.” That is how broad this OSHA mandate is was. Which is also what makes it so insane in the first place.
The court recognized another crucial aspect which differentiates this mandate from any other regulation that OSHA has implemented. The majority writes, “The dissent contends that OSHA’s mandate is comparable to a fire or sanitation regulation imposed by the agency. … But a vaccine mandate is strikingly unlike the workplace regulations that OSHA has typically imposed. A vaccination, after all, ‘cannot be undone at the end of the workday.’” The idea is, you can take your hard hat off at the end of your shift. You can take your gloves off when you are done making sandwiches. You don’t have to keep wearing anti-slip shoes when you go home for the day. You can’t un-vaccinate yourself when your work is over. That is a critical difference.
The court did not completely prohibit OSHA from making COVID-related policy. It noted that, “Where the virus poses a special danger because of the particular features of an employee’s job or workplace, targeted regulations are plainly permissible. We do not doubt, for example, that OSHA could regulate researchers who work with the COVID–19 virus.” So if anyone says that the SCOTUS wants OSHA to not take logical safety measures, they’re just lying and/or wrong.
While the court does talk about the public policy aspect of this mandate (discussing potential benefits and harms), it makes very clear that “It is not our role to weigh such tradeoffs. In our system of government, that is the responsibility of those chosen by the people through democratic processes. 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.”
There is another thing. I’ve had people tell me that this mandate shouldn’t have been stayed because it is good policy. I do not know what country these people live in. Unless our system of government has changed in the last two seconds, I’m pretty sure that we have THREE branches of government. I’m going to say this slowly to make sure people understand. The LEGISLATURE has the authority to make public policy. The EXECUTIVE branch has the authority to… EXECUTE that policy. The JUDICIAL branch has the authority to decide if the legislature or the executive branch create unconstitutional or illegal policy. THE JUDICIAL BRANCH DOES NOT GET TO DECIDE IF A LAW IS A GOOD IDEA!! That is Congress’ job. There is a reason why Article I of the Constitution, which deals with the legislative branch, is the longest and Article III, which deals with the judicial branch, is the shortest. It is reasonable to assume, from this fact alone, that the Founders thought the judiciary’s task is narrow and straightforward. It’s like the original “you had one job” meme. They’re job is to interpret the laws of this country and apply them to cases. That’s it. They don’t get to decide if a policy is good or if they like a certain law. It. Doesn’t. Matter. This is the branch of government where you DON’T want justices drawing on their past experiences.
Ian, you may ask, why are you spending so much time on this? I mean, all this stuff is pretty basic, we all learned it in middle school and then again at NMH. Like, obviously Congress makes laws because they are most representative of us, the citizens. And you know what’s great, all this information is in this handy little book, it’s called the CONSTITUTION. It’s actually really short. Why, oh dear Milkman, why do you make us go through all of this? Now, dear reader, if you’ve gotten this far, it’s time to laugh at stupid people. It’s time to read the dissent.
Probably tomorrow though cause I'm tired and I'm gonna need a break before I read the absolute crap show of stupidity that is the dissent.