As ominous as the spreading omicron variant is the upcoming showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court next week over the Biden Administration’s Covid-19 mandates.
In what the Washington Post termed a “highly unusual” action, the justices scheduled oral arguments on Friday, Jan. 7, to consider both a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers and rules requiring companies employing 100 or more staff to adopt a vaccine-or-testing requirement. The shadow docket hearing was shoehorned in before the resumption of the regular oral arguments schedule for 2022.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirement that large companies must mandate vaccinations could go into effect. The other case involves the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rule that ties federal funding to vaccination mandates for health care workers. The Biden administration’s health care mandate is currently blocked by lower court rulings.
As the Post put it, “Both policies have been at least partially blocked from going into effect by lower courts after challenges from Republican-led states, and from business and religious coalitions.”
That more than half of the states are challenging the OSHA rules is a shameful reflection upon the United States, revealing the damage being done to public health by mainly highly religious governors and state legislatures in the thrall of the anti-science backlash.
It’s possible that reason may prevail even in the Trump Court, with three of its 6-3 extremist majority handpicked by the previous president. High court precedent going back more than a century acknowledges the government’s right to vaccinate in the face of a pandemic or epidemic. The lawsuits by 27 states are a challenge of the right of the federal government to exercise such authority, however, and it’s a bad sign that the court earlier this year ruled against the CDC’s moratorium on evictions during the pandemic.
The Biden Administration has planned to mandate vaccinations for small businesses going forward.
Only 62 percent of the eligible population in the United States is fully vaccinated. Even in the Netherlands, where more than 85 percent are fully vaccinated, the omicron variant is tearing through the population and shutting down the nation. Herd immunity will require more than a 90 percent vaccination rate.
“The very preamble of our Constitution notes that ‘We the People’ have the right to provide for the general welfare,” comments Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “It’s vital that the Supreme Court does not overstep its authority and block the federal government from protecting public health based on facts, reason and science.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, with more than 35,000 current members, is the nation’s largest association of freethinkers, and works as a state/church watchdog.