The US Supreme Court considers Biden's decision to impose vaccination on companies "illegal."

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source: www.wbur.org

The US Supreme Court considers Biden's decision to impose vaccination on companies "illegal."

The US president said he was "disappointed" and asked businessmen to "do the right thing to protect the health and economy" of the population.

The Supreme Court has blocked the Biden administration from requiring business employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or take weekly tests and wear a mask at work.

Joe Biden said Thursday "disappointed" that the Supreme Court blocked the requirement to get vaccinated or tested.

"I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided to block common sense, potentially life-saving requirements" that were aimed at "employees of large companies, based squarely on science and the law," he said in a statement.

Biden also asked businessmen to "do the right thing to protect the health and economy of Americans."

The court did allow the administration to proceed with a vaccination mandate for most health care workers in the US.

Court orders Thursday during a surge in coronavirus cases were a mishmash of the administration's efforts to increase the vaccination rate among Americans.

The court's conservative majority concluded that the administration overstepped its authority in trying to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's vaccine or test rule on US companies with at least 100 employees. As a result, more than 80 million people would have been affected.

"OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Neither does Congress. Although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, it has refused to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has enacted here," the Conservatives wrote in an unsigned opinion.

Disagreeing, the three liberals on the court argued that the court overstepped its bounds by substituting their judgment for that of health experts. "Acting outside its jurisdiction and without legal basis, the Court displaces the trials of government officials who were assigned responsibility for responding to workplace health emergencies," Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan wrote. and Sonia Sotomayor in a joint dissent.

In crafting the OSHA rule, White House officials always anticipated legal challenges, and privately some had doubts that it could withstand them. However, the administration still sees the rule as a success in getting millions of people vaccinated, and private companies implementing their requirements unaffected by the legal challenge.

Republican-led states had challenged both rules. In addition, business groups have attacked OSHA's emergency regulation as too costly and likely to cause workers to leave their jobs at a time when new hires are already hard to find.

The vaccination mandate that the court will allow to be enforced across the country covers virtually all health care workers in the country. It applies to health care providers who receive federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid, which could affect 76,000 health care facilities and home health care providers. The rule has medical and religious exemptions.

Decisions by federal appeals courts in New Orleans and St. Louis had blocked the mandate in about half of the states. However, the administration was already taking steps to apply it elsewhere.

Only judges Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito disagreed in the health care case. "The challenges posed by a global pandemic do not allow a federal agency to exercise power that Congress has not vested in it. At the same time, such unprecedented circumstances provide no reason to limit the exercise of powers the agency has long been recognized to have," the justices wrote in an unsigned opinion, saying "the latter principle rules" in medical care cases.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 208 million Americans, 62.7% of the population, are fully vaccinated, and more than a third of them have received booster shots. In addition, all nine judges have received booster shots.

The judges heard arguments on the challenges last week. Their questions then hinted at the split verdict they issued Thursday.