Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.

Editorial: High court should strike down shot mandates

  • 0

President Joe Biden's efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19 through vaccine mandates are getting the ultimate test — a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court this past Friday. At the heart of this debate is just how much authority federal agencies have to apply such sweeping orders.

Federal courts have rightly called into question this apparent overreach by the Biden administration, with judges around the country halting all iterations of the mandates, whether for certain health care workers, federal contractors or private employers. Just recently, a judge in Louisiana ruled that Biden can't force teachers in the Head Start early education program to get the vaccine, saying the order illegally bypassed Congress.

It's the mandate impacting private businesses with 100 or more employees that is especially egregious, however. The 500 pages of rules issued in early November by the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration require employees at these companies get vaccinated or agree to regular testing. If employers don't comply, they face hefty fines.

The "emergency temporary standard" rules, which bypassed the typical notice and comment period for rulemaking, as well as Congress, were almost immediately put on hold by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on constitutional grounds.

Then last month, 6th Circuit in a 2-1 ruling allowed the rules to proceed. In her strongly worded dissent, Judge Joan Larsen (a Trump administration appointee who formerly served on the Michigan Supreme Court) wrote the following: "This emergency rule remains a massive expansion of the scope of (the administration's) authority."

She also compared OSHA's far-reaching rules to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's eviction ban, which the Supreme Court overturned last year.

Challengers, including business groups, appealed to the Supreme Court. Attorneys general in more than half the states have fought against the mandates.

Many in the business community have argued that while they supports vaccines, mandates are not the answer, and targeting employers with 100 or more workers could harm their ability to keep on or hire workers at a time when many employers are already having difficulty finding staff.

Given the Supreme Court's decision to hear the case, the Biden administration has slightly delayed enforcement to Jan. 10 from Jan. 4, but this still puts employers in a bind in trying to figure out how to proceed.

The nation is already facing a shortage of COVID tests, despite Biden's assurances he'd fix the problem. It's unclear where businesses would acquire the necessary tests to comply with OSHA's rules.

In a call with governors late last month, Biden said "there is no federal solution" to COVID. The president should take his own words to heart.

Breakthrough cases are becoming more common, and vaccines alone will not stop the spread. A better approach would be to focus on ensuring states have adequate access to testing and the early virus treatments that are coming online.

Such expansive federal mandates go against our system of federalism and our constitutional rights, and are unlikely to significantly slow the virus.


Catch the latest in Opinion

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Glenn Youngkin traveled an unlikely road from Hampton Roads to the heights of the financial world, only to return to his native Virginia to pursue elected office. That uncommon path — and his common-sense campaign platform — resonated with voters in November, who saw fit to elect him the commonwealth’s 74th governor. On Saturday in Richmond, Youngkin formally assumed office, pledging to work ...

A recent advisory from the surgeon general of the United States should act as an unambiguous alarm about a national crisis of mental health plaguing. More than ever this emergency requires our concern, our energy and every resource we can muster to address it. In December, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the nation’s top physician, issued a lengthy report detailing the deteriorating phycological and ...

The infamous Martin Shkreli is “Pharma Bro” no more. On Jan. 10, Shkreli received a lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry. You may recall that Shkreli exploited lax enforcement to corner the market on a lifesaving drug (Daraprim) and then jacked up the list price more than fortyfold. This went on for years, with Shkreli directing the operation even while serving a prison term for a ...

Living their faith, worshippers at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, invited an unknown, unkempt (by his own admission he "didn't look nice") man into their synagogue after he asked if it was a night shelter. They gave him comfort — and a cup of tea. But Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old from Great Britain, did not return the kindness. In a nearly 11-hour hostage crisis that was ...

Private equity executive Glenn Youngkin began his term as Virginia’s governor with a pair of speeches that suggest a willingness to reach across ideological divides, while at the same time signing several executive orders guaranteed to widen the chasm.

Recommendations from the Biden administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seem to change weekly regarding coronavirus precautions. Americans are justifiably confused and are at risk of tuning out. For a Democratic administration struggling to create the appearance of command authority during an ongoing national crisis, the mixed messaging feeds the Republican narrative that ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

News Alert