Supreme Court Halts Federal Vaccine Mandate, Wyoming Leaders Respond
The U.S. Supreme Court has, for the time being, halted the Biden Administration from enforcing a mandate that would require employees at large businesses (businesses with 100 or more employees) to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to undergo weekly testing and wear a mask while on the job.
The Supreme Court did, however, allow for the vaccine mandate that requires the same expectations from healthcare or medical facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid payments.
CNBC writes that the mandates were "the most expansive use of power by the federal government to protect workers from Covid since the pandemic began."
"Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly," the unsigned opinion from the court wrote. "Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category."
Many of Wyoming's leaders have argued against the vaccine mandate, with Governor Mark Gordon even filing multiple lawsuits against the Biden administration after a special session of the Wyoming Legislature.
“These legal actions are essential to stopping the unconstitutional mandates from the Biden Administration. This is a result of the hard work by our Attorney General,” Gordon said in a prepared statement. “I thank General Hill and her team for their efforts to protect the rights of Wyoming citizens and her industries. We have been preparing for this battle and, as promised, we are now joined in the fight to protect our civil liberties. Rest assured I am committed to using every tool possible to oppose these unlawful federal policies.”
The petition itself says that the vaccine mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise. The federal government lacks constitutional authority under its enumerated powers to issue this mandate, and its attempt to do so unconstitutionally infringes on the States’ powers expressly reserved by the Tenth Amendment. OSHA also lacks statutory authority to issue this mandate, which it shoe-horned into statutes that govern workplace safety, and which were never intended to federalize public-health policy.”
The Associated Press reports that the mandate would have affected "more than 80 million people" and, according to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, it would have impacted a total of 106,462 workers in Wyoming.
Cynthia Lummis is the first of Wyoming's leaders to comment on the Supreme Court decision, calling the move 'a huge win.'
"The federal government has no place making far-reaching mandates that put an undue burden on business across Wyoming," the Senator wrote.
Senator Barrasso also lauded the decision.
Taking to Twitter, Barrasso stated that "stopping this massive government overreach is a victory for all Americans who value the Constitution and their personal freedoms.
"Today, the Supreme Court confirmed what we all knew: President Biden's vaccine mandate on employees of private businesses in unconstitutional," Senator Barrasso wrote. "This ruling frees millions of Americans from having to choose between their job and their personal health care decisions."
Senator Barrasso also appeared on Fox News, echoing Senator Lummis' sentiments, saying that the "SCOTUS ruling is a big win for Americans and for freedom. It's a big loss for President Biden and big government. To know there are 100 million workers in this country that work for private companies that are no longer subject to this mandate is a good thing for our economy."
Governor Mark Gordon also applauded the decision of the Supreme Court, but did express disappointment that the Court elected to uphold the CMS Vaccine Mandate.
"We are delighted that the Supreme Court ruled favorably on our petition regarding OSHA’s authority," Governor Gordon wrote. "This is a victory for Wyoming businesses and their workers. The court rightfully recognized this action by the Biden Administration for what it was-- a blatant example of federal overreach.
It is disappointing that the Court did not reach a similar conclusion on the CMS vaccine mandate. I continue to maintain that healthcare workers should not be forced to choose between vaccination and termination. We are still in the process of evaluating the impacts of this ruling on Wyoming’s healthcare workforce.”
Wyomingites themselves are, for the most part, also staunchly against the vaccine mandate. Back in September, a vaccine mandate protest was held outside of Casper College and it featured comments from state Senator Anthony Bouchard and state representatives Chuck Gray and Robert Wharff.
The vaccine mandate, especially in Wyoming, was considered to be a vast federal overreach.
K2 Radio News will Update this story with comments from additional Wyoming representatives as they become available.