WASHINGTON—Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts released the following statement Friday following oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court over the Biden administration’s unlawful COVID vaccine mandate:
“Today was one of the most important moments in our nation’s history. 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 arguments made today challenging the Biden regime’s mandate were powerful and persuasive. 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.”
BACKGROUND: The Heritage Foundation filed an application last month with the 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 vaccine.”
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.