Supreme Court stay of worker vaccination mandate applauded in Ohio

(The Center Square) – Ohio business and policy groups, along with government leaders, praised the U.S. Supreme Court decision that stopped President Joe Biden from forcing private employees across the country to receive the COVID-19 vaccination or face strict testing requirements.

The temporary stay ordered by the court halted the mandate that private-sector employers with at least 100 workers ensure their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly.

The mandate was enacted through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and would have placed hefty fines on businesses that refused to comply. That mandate was expected to affect 84 million workers nationwide.

The private-sector ruling came on a 6-3 vote. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court's three left-leaning justices in a 5-4 decision to uphold a health care workers' mandate.

The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based policy group, was the first to request an emergency stay of the private-sector mandate with the U.S. Supreme Court. It filed its hard copy materials less than an hour after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s decision came down, granting the government’s request to dissolve the existing administrative stay.

“In issuing an emergency stay, the U.S. Supreme Court has protected not just our clients who filed suit in this case, but all of the businesses, workers and communities across the country who would have suffered – and will suffer – significant economic harm if OSHA’s unlawful vaccine mandate were allowed to be enforced,” said Robert Alt, president and CEO of The Buckeye Institute and a lead attorney representing Phillips Manufacturing & Tower Co. and Sixarp LLC against the mandate.

“While this case is far from over, [Thursday's] U.S. Supreme Court ruling gives business owners and workers some measure of certainty that they will not be forced to implement a costly vaccine mandate that violates numerous constitutional principles and laws.”

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce called the ruling correct, saying businesses should be able to make their own decisions on requiring vaccinations of employees.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to prevent OSHA’s vaccine-or-test mandate from being fully enforced was the right decision,” Chamber President and CEO Steve Stivers said. “Businesses are in the best position to set COVID-19 policies for their own workforce because they know their employees better than anyone. That is why the Ohio Chamber has opposed efforts by the Biden administration and at the Ohio Statehouse that seek to insert government into the employer-employee relationship and hamper an employer’s ability to set their own health and safety procedures.”

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who was part of a coalition of 27 attorneys general asking for an immediate stay of the employee mandate, called the decision a win for citizens and states.

“Americans have lost too much to this disease already – all of us want this pandemic to end – but it is critical that we do not lose our Constitution, too,” Yost said. “Today’s ruling protects our individual rights and states’ rights to pursue the solutions that work best for their citizens.”

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