WASHINGTON—Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts released the following statement Thursday in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that blocks the Biden administration's unlawful COVID-19 vaccine mandate on employers:
“The federal government has no business dictating the private and personal health care decisions of tens of millions of Americans, nor does it have the authority to coerce employers into collecting protected health care data on their employees. By striking down the Biden regime’s unlawful COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the Supreme Court has signaled its agreement with this basic tenet of a well-functioning and free society.
“This mandate has never been about public health. It has always been a fig leaf for President Biden’s excuse to increase government control of the everyday lives of Americans. The court’s rebuke of this overreach is certainly welcome. However, Americans who cherish our Constitution and the rule of law have a great deal of work left to do in pushing back against the Biden regime’s radical response to the pandemic, whether it be disastrous public health policy, extreme social spending proposals like ‘Build Back Better,’ or the assault on the integrity of our elections through legislation that would undo basic electoral safeguards like voter ID in all 50 states.
“Make no mistake—Heritage will continue to fight on all these fronts, and remain a faithful voice for the tens of millions of Americans whom our ‘elites’ have left behind.”
“We’re grateful for the work of our partners at ACLJ for representing Heritage in this case. Their representation of Heritage and the American people was second to none.”
BACKGROUND: In December, The Heritage Foundation filed an application with the U.S. Supreme Court to delay implementation of the Biden administration’s COVID vaccine mandate on private employers. Heritage’s petition asked the court to review the case and immediately grant a stay pending resolution.
In the application, Heritage argued that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have the statutory authority to impose a vaccine mandate on private employers. It also exceeds the federal government’s authority under the Commerce Clause and violates the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On Thursday, Roberts urged the justices of the Supreme Court to follow the clear text of the Constitution and existing law in rejecting the mandate as an obvious overreach of federal authority:
“No constitutional or legal authority is given to the federal government to issue this type of mandate, and the Supreme Court should reiterate this fact quickly and without ambiguity. This is a pivotal moment for our judicial system – will the nine justices of the Court be guided by the text of the Constitution and the clear language of our laws, or will they bow to the political pressure so often exerted throughout this pandemic that has led to a massive erosion of Americans’ rights and livelihoods? The answer to that question will have consequences far beyond a mandate over the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Following oral arguments Jan. 8, Roberts said the Supreme Court has a constitutional responsibility to strike down the Biden administration’s mandate:
“The Biden administration, and many on the far left, believe that the federal government has the right and the authority to dictate personal and private medical decisions to the American people, and coerce their employers into collecting protected health care data on their employees. This overreach is a fundamental violation of the American spirit of freedom and personal responsibility and represents the left’s assault not just on common sense, but our constitutional rights. … The justices of the Supreme Court have a sacred duty to uphold and protect the Constitution. They must do so in this case by unequivocally rejecting this unlawful mandate and assigning it to the trash heap of American jurisprudence. If they fail to do so, the consequences for our republic will be dire.”
On Nov. 29, The Heritage Foundation announced that it filed its first-ever lawsuit challenging OSHA’s mandate. In the filing, Heritage highlights OSHA’s own previous resistance to issuing new rules on a COVID vaccine mandate, and subsequently argues that the mandate is unlawful.