Thu, Jan 13, 2022 5:30 PM
By Cole Lauterbach | The Center Square, The Center Square
(The Center Square) – Most Arizona officials are rejoicing over Thursday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down President Joe Biden’s vaccination requirement for large employers.
In November, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a proposed rule saying employers with 100 or more employees must mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for all employees.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, along with more than two dozen other states, challenged the rule in federal court.
The nation’s high court released its 6-3 decision saying the OSHA cannot legally force such a widespread federal mandate.
"The question before us is not how to respond to the pandemic, but who holds the power to do so. The answer is clear: Under the law as it stands today, that power rests with the States and Congress, not OSHA," justices wrote in the majority opinion.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a pro-business Republican, called the ruling “a win for hardworking employees,” ensuring they won’t lose their jobs over a government mandate.
“Employers in Arizona and throughout the nation have been operating their businesses since March of 2020 and throughout the pandemic. They were innovative and, without government direction, implemented precautions to take care of their workers,” Ducey said in a release. “But, President Biden thought he knew better and instead used a federal agency to implement unlawful regulations that actually regulate employee conduct rather than workplaces."
Ducey said he encourages all to get vaccinated from COVID-19 but has opposed any type of mandate requiring someone to do so.
Brnovich reacted to the ruling as well.
“We must all stand together to preserve our country’s Constitution, states’ sovereignty, and our individual liberties, especially in times of emergency," he said. "The federal government doesn’t get to be your nanny, and it shouldn't get to be your doctor."
In reaction to the ruling, state Rep. Leo Biasiucci, R-Lake Havasu City, announced Thursday he would drop a bill in the state Legislature that would have required businesses to accept evidence of COVID-19 antibodies from a previous infection in lieu of a vaccination card.
The business community, which warned of mass layoffs, welcomed the opinion.
"The Greater Phoenix Chamber is pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling today, which allows businesses the flexibility to protect their employees and customers as they see fit," said chamber President and CEO Todd Sanders. "We have consistently spoken out against government mandates on both sides of this issue, and support the rights of employers in our state. We continue to advocate for vaccinations and other mitigation measures, such as masks, as the best way to mitigate the severity of COVID-19 and keep Arizona businesses open and thriving."
Brnovich lamented the court’s separate ruling, upholding Biden’s vaccination mandate for federal employees and contractors.
“While General Brnovich is disappointed in this decision, his lawsuit is still ongoing,” his office said.