I wrote this week, complaining that the Supreme Court’s delay in ruling on the Biden/OSHA vaccine mandate had allowed it to go into effect: by waiting until the Monday deadline passed, they left businesses no choice but to enforce it or risk ruinous fines if the SCOTUS upheld it. That criticism still goes, even though the Court did issue a ruling Thursday striking down the mandate on businesses with more than 100 employees (they allowed the mandate on health care workers at hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid payments. More on that below.)
It was a better-late-than-never ruling that still should’ve come sooner. But at least it was properly decided. Naturally, the left wing of Twitter went ape, accusing the Court of allowing millions of people to DIE!! As usual, they missed the point, which wasn’t whether vaccines are a good thing but whether OSHA has the power to order Americans to take one whether they want to or not. These are two separate issues (as I always point out, I’m vaccinated myself, but I don’t believe Washington bureaucrats have the power to force it on people who object.)
(A writer/producer for “The Daily Show” even tweeted his complaint that this SCOTUS doesn’t care that “a lot of legal experts on here gave assurances that Biden’s vaccine mandate was clearly allowed by law and precedent.” Commenters reminded him that the Supreme Court are the legal experts, and they didn’t take advice on this case from random people on Twitter. Well, maybe Sonia Sotomayor did.)
Rebecca Downs at Townhall.com has an excellent summary of the legal reasoning of the majority (the three liberal Justices followed their usual judicial philosophy of “If it feels good, do it.”)
Citing the unanimous 1819 McCullough v. Maryland decision, Justice Gorsuch wrote that the federal government doesn’t have unlimited general powers but must cite a constitutionally enumerated authority when it regulates. Mandating a vaccine on 80 million American workers, many of whom object on religious or other grounds, is such a sweeping expansion of federal power that it would have to come from the people’s elected representatives. Gorsuch said far less consequential rules had run afoul of this test, Congress clearly did not delegate such powers to OSHA, and a majority of the Senate even voted to disapprove of OSHA’s ruling.
Quoting the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Gorsuch said these safeguards “serve to prevent 'government by bureaucracy’ supplanting ‘government by the people.'"
It’s unfortunate, however, that Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh joined with the liberals to hand Biden a win in allowing his health care worker mandate to stand. They ruled that since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that issued the mandate fall under the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who has the power to impose conditions on receiving those funds, the mandate is allowed. I'd say that's an awfully expansive definition of "conditions."
In his dissent, Justice Thomas reminded his colleagues that the exact same principle applies: this case wasn’t about whether vaccines are good, it’s about whether federal appointees have the power to “force health care workers, by coercing their employers, to undergo a medical procedure they do not want and cannot undo.” He noted that just as with OSHA, if Congress had wanted to grant that power to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it would have done so, and “it did not.”
That decision is being touted by the White House as a big win for Biden. Considering his other news this week includes the SCOTUS killing the vaccine mandate on businesses, record inflation, a new record low approval rating and the collapse of his push for killing the Senate filibuster and legalizing vote fraud, by comparison, it is.
Postscript to the SCOTUS ruling: Justice Gorsuch made reference to the plaintiffs’ argument that the government knew that its mandate was unconstitutional because Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who has been nicknamed “Biden’s Brain” (boy, there a title you don’t want on your resume!) retweeted a tweet boasting about it being the ultimate legislative “work-around.”
Apparently, it’s not enough for Twitter to censor conservatives from saying what we believe. If they want to save the Democrats, they’ll have to start censoring them from telling us what they believe, too.