The Supreme Court blocked on Thursday President Joe Biden’s vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers, but has allowed it for certain healthcare workers.
The nation’s highest court said that Biden’s mandate exceeded the executive party’s authority.
In a separate ruling, the justices said that a more limited scope of a vaccine mandate could be allowed to stand, specifically for healthcare facilities that are funded by the government.
The Biden administration has said that it believes vaccine mandates would help to fight the ongoing Covid pandemic, the numbers of which have surged due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
President Biden expressed his disappointment with the ruling, and said that the decision blocked common-sense requirements that would save lives for employees across the country.
He called upon the business leaders themselves to step up and institute vaccine requirements, stating that one third of Fortune 100 companies already had.
If the Supreme Court had approved the mandate, it would have required workers to either receive their Covid vaccination, or wear a mask and test weekly at their own expense.
It was aimed at larger employers that have at least 100 people, and therefore would have affected more than 84 million people nationwide.
Experts and political analysts say that Biden’s mandates were either going to stand or fall based on the judicial interpretation of the statute. Therefore, with a Supreme Court heavily weighted to the conservative side, the current balance — or lack thereof — of the court was just the latest in setbacks for a presidential response plan.
Covid hospitalizations skyrocketed across the U.S. this week, passing pandemic records of hospitalization with close to 146,000 patients hospitalized. The vast majority of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. The surge is driven by the Omicron variant, as well in some states still the Delta variant, especially in locations with low vaccine rates. The U.S. is now averaging 700,000 new infections a day.