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Supreme Court Blocks OSHA's Vaccine Mandate

Supreme Court Blocks OSHA's Vaccine Mandate
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated the stay on OSHA's ETS. In its ruling, the Court stated that Congress hasn't given OSHA 'the power to regulate public health more broadly.'

The Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated the stay on OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard

"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," the Supreme Court wrote in its ruling.

"Although COVID– 19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most," the Supreme Court also noted in its ruling. "COVID–19 can and does spread at home, in schools, during sporting events, and everywhere else that people gather."

Justices Stephen Brayer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented. 

"In our view, the Court’s order seriously misapplies the applicable legal standards," they said in a joint statement. "And in so doing, it stymies the Federal Government’s ability to counter the unparalleled threat that COVID–19 poses to our nation’s workers."

Back on Dec. 7, the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for federal contractors was blocked by a federal judge in Georgia. The stay on OSHA's ETS was lifted on Dec. 20 by a panel of judges in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

Industry response

Associated Builders and Contractors said it applauds the ruling, noting that it filed one of the emergency appeals to the Supreme Court.  

“ABC is pleased that the Supreme Court blocked OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC VP of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “ABC is proud to have played an important role in preventing OSHA from causing irreparable harm to the construction industry.

"This is a big win in removing compliance hurdles for the construction industry, which is facing multiple economic challenges, including a workforce shortage of 430,000rising materials prices and supply chain issues. ABC continues to support vaccinations and encourages members to use its COVID-19 vaccination toolkit to keep workers safe on construction job sites.”

On Nov. 9, ABC and its Alabama chapter filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit against the OSHA ETS. ABC filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court to stay the ETS on Dec. 20.

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