The Supreme Court of the United States annulled this Thursday the order from President Joe Biden, that required to be vaccinated or to present negative results of covid-19 tests on a weekly basis to employees of all companies with 100 or more workers. The presidential order was due to begin implementation in February.
However, the highest court it did give the green light to another mandate from Biden to vaccinate employees of more than 50 thousand health facilities. They are those that receive federal subsidies from the Medicare or Medicaid programs, and in which some 17 million people work.
The setback to Biden had the support of the six judges of the conservative majority in the country’s highest court, while the three progressives issued an opinion contrary to the decision. The Court usually takes very few cases a year.
The argument used by the court to overturn the measure was that the federal government does not have sufficient authority to issue such an order, as pointed out by business groups and plaintiff states.
“(The mandate) is a significant invasion into the lives and health of a large number of employees,” they indicated from the Court.
At a court hearing on Friday last week, one of the plaintiff attorneys, Scott Keller of the National Federation of Independent Business, had warned that Biden’s order would cause “massive economic change” in the United States and that many “workers are going to quit” so they won’t be forced to get vaccinated.
In the case of the mandate that affects health workers, two of the conservatives (John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh) allied with the progressives in their endorsement of Biden’s measure, while the other four conservatives opposed her.
The United States is the country with the most infections and deaths from the pandemic: more than 63 million cases of covid-19 and more than 800 thousand deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.