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Supreme Court blocks Biden's COVID vaccine rule for companies, allows mandate for health care workers

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Washington — The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test rule for businesses with at least 100 workers, but granted a separate request from the Biden administration to allow its vaccine mandate for health care workers to take effect.In an unsigned opinion on the rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which would require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly tests, the high court said a slew of GOP-led states, businesses and nonprofit organizations that challenged it are "likely to prevail.""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 court said. A divided three-judge panel allowed the Biden administration's rule to take effect, finding the requirements were "not a novel expansion of OSHA's power; it is an existing application of authority to a novel and dangerous worldwide pandemic."The Supreme Court received more than a dozen requests for emergency action in cases challenging the requirement after the 6th U.S. Circuit's ruling, with business associations, Republican-led states and private businesses covered by the rule arguing OSHA lacked the power to issue the vaccine requirement.The Supreme Court's majority said the groups are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the secretary of labor, acting through OSHA, lacked authority to impose the vaccine-or-test rule."Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life — simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock — would significantly expand OSHA's regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization," the court said.But Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan wrote in a joint dissent that they believe the policy falls within OSHA's mission of protecting employees from "grave danger" that comes from "new hazards" or exposure to harmful agents."In our view, the court's order seriously misapplies the applicable legal standards.

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