Supreme Court blocks COVID mandate

On Thursday, the US Supreme Court halted the enforcement of President Joe Biden’s efforts to fight COVID-19, ruling that the presidential administration doesn’t have the authority to impose vaccine-or-testing requirements on employers that would have affected tens of millions of Americans.

The ruling – an unsigned opinion – concluded that federal officials exceeded the power given to them by Congress. This marked the second time the nation’s highest court denied a pandemic policy of the Biden administration.

The question is whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had the power to impose the requirements under a 1970 law.   

“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 wrote. “Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”

While many businesses in the area may have been affected by the ruling, Lincoln Parish universities, Louisiana Tech and Grambling State, do not fall within OSHA jurisdiction.

“The OSHA ruling, while highly significant to private employers, has no impact on public colleges and universities,” said Dr. Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System, of which Tech and GSU are members. “OSHA does not have jurisdiction over state and local government employees, including public universities.”

The decision drew a dissent from the court’s three liberal justices. 

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