Can Biden’s Vaccination Rule for Private Employers Survive Judicial Scrutiny?
The White House says a COVID-19 mandate that President Joe Biden plans to impose on private employers, which “will impact over 80 million workers,” is all about “Vaccinating the Unvaccinated.” But officially, that mandate is aimed at protecting workplace safety, and the difference between those two descriptions could make it vulnerable to the flood of litigation it will provoke.
A month after he was elected, Biden called vaccination against COVID-19 “a patriotic duty” but said, “I don’t think it should be mandatory.” On July 23, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reiterated that position, saying it’s “not the role of the federal government” to require vaccination.
A week later, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insisted “there will be no federal [vaccination] mandate.” Last month, Anthony Fauci, Biden’s top medical adviser, agreed that “you’re not going to get mandates centrally from the federal government.”
If you are determined to reconcile those assurances with the rule that Biden announced last week, which applies to all businesses with 100 or more employees, you could note that it does not technically require people to be vaccinated, since they can submit to weekly COVID-19 testing instead. But the choice between those two options—especially if employees have to foot the bill for testing—is likely to encourage vaccination, which is what Biden wants.
The problem is that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the agency that Biden has charged with imposing the vaccination/testing rule, does not have broad authority to fight epidemics or promote public health. Its mission is limited to protecting employees from workplace hazards.
Article from Latest – Reason.com