In a big jolt to President Joe Biden's decision ,the US Supreme Court has blocked rule requiring workers at large companies to be vaccinated or masked and tested weekly. Six conservative Justices at the nation's highest Court said, the mandate exceeded the Biden administration's authority. The Apex Court further ruled that the mandate would represent a "significant encroachment into the lives -- and health -- of a vast number of employees." The three liberal justices dissented, saying the ruling "stymies the federal government's ability to counter the unparalleled threat that Covid-19 poses to our nation's workers." The vaccination mandate for health care workers at facilities receiving federal funding was approved in a 5-4 vote, with two conservatives -- Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh -- joining the liberals.Separately they ruled that a more limited vaccine mandate could stand for staff at government-funded healthcare facilities. The administration, however, said the mandates would help fight the pandemic.
The administration's workplace vaccine mandate would have required workers to receive a Covid-19 shot, or be masked and tested weekly at their own expense. It would have applied to workplaces with at least 100 employees and affected some 84 million workers. It was designed to be enforced by employers. Opponents, including several Republican States and some business groups, said the administration was over-stepping its power with the requirements, which were introduced in November and immediately drew legal challenges. After months of public appeals to Americans to get vaccinated against Covid, which has killed more than 845,000 people in the United States, Biden announced in September that he was making vaccinations compulsory at large private companies. Unvaccinated employees would have to present weekly negative tests and wear face masks at work.
Vaccination has become a politically polarizing issue in the United States, where approximately 63 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Former President Donald Trump cheered the Court's decision, and said vaccine mandates would have further destroyed the economy. We are proud of the Supreme Court for not backing down, he said in a statement. "The Supreme Court has spoken, confirming what we all knew: Biden's disastrous mandates are unconstitutional," Trump said in a statement. President Joe Biden, whose approval rating has been sagging, expressed disappointment with the decision to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees. Biden said it is now up to states and individual employers to determine whether they should be requiring employees "to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated." He said the Supreme Court ruling "does not stop me from using my voice as president to advocate for employers to do the right thing to protect Americans' health and economy."