U.S. Supreme Court blocks federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate

People protesting vaccine mandates for certain workers in the State of Oregon line up along the businesses along Oregon Street in September of 2021. The Supreme Court just shot down U.S. President Joe Biden's attempt at passing a similar measure for employers with 100 workers or more, which would have impacted about 80 million workers in the U.S.

WASHINGTON — This afternoon the U.S. Supreme Court blocked in a 6-3 decision a federal vaccine mandate that would have affected more than 80 million Americans. The High Court reinstated the nationwide stay won by Louisiana grocery store owner Brandon Trosclair, owner of BST Holdings LLC, and a group of Texas employees represented by the national Liberty Justice Center and the Louisiana-based Pelican Institute. Today’s ruling represents a historic victory against government overreach and intrusion into the lives of American citizens, and a tremendous triumph over egregious federal policies that have grossly violated Americans’ fundamental rights.

“Today’s ruling represents a monumental victory for all Americans, and a reminder that the Biden Administration and the federal government cannot rule by executive fiat,” said Patrick Hughes, president and co-founder of the Liberty Justice Center. “The Supreme Court saw this mandate for what it really is: An attempt to bypass Congress and the will of the American people. This mandate represented the most egregious overreach by the federal government in a generation, and every American owes Brandon Trosclair and the other brave plaintiffs in this lawsuit a debt of gratitude for fighting to protect their rights. Today’s ruling is a clear victory for Americans’ fundamental rights and the rule of law.”

Trosclair employs nearly 500 people across 16 grocery stores in Louisiana and Mississippi. His lawsuit, BST Holdings v. OSHA, was filed in November and was responsible for the initial suspension of the federal vaccine mandate at that time.

Brandon Trosclair, who employs nearly 500 people across 16 grocery stores in Louisiana and Mississippi said: “Today’s victory should be celebrated by all Americans. I filed this lawsuit because I felt it was my duty to stand up for my employees, businessowners and my fellow Americans to block this illegal mandate and protect our rights. I am relieved that this relentless government intrusion into our lives and businesses is now being pushed back by our highest court, and I am humbled and honored to have played a role in this pivotal moment in history.”

Sarah Harbison, general counsel at the Pelican Institute for Public Policy said: “This is a historic victory against illegal government overreach. The Supreme Court’s decision to halt the illegal vaccine mandate is a win for American workers and business owners in every corner of the country. Business owners like Brandon Trosclair fought and beat the Biden Administration on behalf of their team members and communities to keep the government out of individuals’ private health care decisions.”

In its order, the court clearly lays out that regulating the health of the general public falls outside of the power delegated to OSHA by Congress:

“Applicants are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Secretary lacked authority to impose the mandate. Administrative agencies are creatures of statute. They accordingly possess only the authority that Congress has provided.”

“The question, then, is whether the Act plainly authorizes the Secretary’s mandate. It does not.”

“It is telling that OSHA, in its half century of existence, has never before adopted a broad public health regulation of this kind—addressing a threat that is untethered, in any causal sense, from the workplace.”

“Congress has nowhere clearly assigned so much power to OSHA.” (Justice Gorsuch concurring)

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