Heritage President Kevin Roberts Talks Supreme Court Victory on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Heritage President Kevin Roberts Talks Supreme Court Victory on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Jan 14, 2022 5 min read

WASHINGTON—Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts joined Jay and Jordan Sekulow’s radio show Friday to talk about Heritage’s victory this week at the Supreme Court. The court struck down the Biden administration's unlawful COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employers. Heritage filed a lawsuit against the mandate in November, with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) representing Heritage.

Roberts channeled the relief of thousands of employers, and tens of millions of American workers, in his response to the court’s ruling:  

“[W]e’re just ecstatic here at The Heritage Foundation, not just because we, and many others—any employer with over 100 employees—have won these cases. We’re ecstatic because it is a line in the sand against this regime that they better not cross again.” 

However, Roberts made clear that he and Heritage are clear-eyed about the challenge ahead. Though we may have won this battle, the American people continue to face an administration, and a narrow majority in Congress intent on violating our most basic rights and freedoms, and indeed transforming our republic into an authoritarian state we do not recognize:  

“I will never, The Heritage Foundation will never, ask for your private health data. We are never going to submit to an unconstitutional government order that requires that. We were very confident given your [ACLJ’s] representation we were going to win this case. But let me be clear. When it comes to putting government back in the box, it is a series of battles. We have won one battle, but we’ve not won the political and policy war. And just know, The Heritage Foundation, all of us here, stand at the ready for the next battle.” 

Roberts provided two keys to those involved, or wanting to be involved, in the fight:  

“[W]e know that The Heritage Foundation is seen by so many people in America as being at the vanguard of America, the vanguard of conservatism. And we’re never going to miss an opportunity to take the lead so that individuals can do what they do. And that’s spread the word through all of their different networks, through their comments on the news and so on. Y’all know better than anybody, the justices pay attention to that kind of thing, as you pointed out. The second and last thing is, never doubt that when you are faced with a decision, go on offense. The Heritage Foundation is on offense every day.”  

WATCH: We’ve Won the Battle, But Heritage Will Continue to Fight the War, Jan. 14, 2022 

WATCH: Supreme Court Blocks Biden’s Vaccine Mandate: Heritage President Kevin Roberts Responds 

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. Roberts had 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 the court’s ruling Jan. 13, Roberts said the Supreme Court was right to strike down the mandate, and preserve a basic tenet of American 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.” 

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.   

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