The U.S. Supreme Court, in a moment of supreme lucidity, slapped down Joe Biden’s presidential attempt to use a federal agency to bend private companies’ to his executive will — that is, to use OSHA as a COVID-19 vaccine mandate enforcer for millions of privately employed Americans.
The ruling, reeling in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is cause for cheer.
But the rest of the Supreme Court’s determinations left plenty of wiggle room for the tyrants of the left to continue their tyrannical, COVID-19-tied clamps on individual liberties. And that’s cause for a wake-up call and rousing to patriots for more, bigger and more intense cultural and legal fights.
That only six of the nine justices saw the utter fallacy of Team Biden’s pro-vaccine mandate arguments is uncomfortable enough. How the three who agreed with the government — Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer — arrived at their judicial logic to regard these mandates on private employers and employees as A-OK is a mental gymnastic feat of magnificent proportions. But worse than the fact a freedom that just a couple short years ago was seen as so sacrosanct as to not even be debated came just a couple votes short of disintegrating is another fact of this SCOTUS hearing: five justices saw fit to impose vaccine mandates on health care workers, using the rationale that it’s suitable for the federal government to tie strings to disbursement of tax dollars. On that line of logic, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh agreed with the left-leaning three, Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor, and said, in their opinion: “Congress authorized the Secretary [of Health and Human Services] to promulgate, as a condition of a facility’s participation in [Medicare and Medicaid] programs, such ‘requirements [that are] necessary in the interest of the health and safety of individuals who are furnished services in the institution. Relying on these authorities, the Secretary has established long lists of detailed conditions with which facilities must comply to be eligible to receive Medicare and Medicaid funds. Such conditions have long included a requirement that certain providers maintain and enforce an ‘infection and prevention and control program.’”
That’s a congressionally delegated role of the HHS secretary. But a permanent vaccine is not the same as a pair of rubber gloves.
Besides, it’s also the role of the U.S. Supreme Court to look to the Constitution as the guide. And in this hearing, justices failed to issue rulings on these two separate cases that were grounded in the limited government theme of the Constitution — or that were even in agreement with each other. They went squishy; they went soft.
If the Constitution had been the justices’ sole guide, the same six who voted against the vaccine mandate on private employers — meaning, on private citizens — would have voted against the vaccine mandate on health care workers, also private citizens. That’s the decision that recognizes the God-given rights of the individual; that’s the determination that takes into consideration the limited government aspect of the Constitution that Founding Fathers intended and provided.
Splitting hairs on God-given brings about a logic that recognizes individual rights for some, but not others.
If the standard of God-given becomes dependent on the consideration of tax dollars — if God-given rights are watered, and allowed to be watered, at the drop of a federal funding hat — then all of America’s systems become vulnerable to government overreach.
Public K-12 schools receive federal funding.
America’s places of higher learning receive federal funding.
Federal contractors — privately employed workers who nonetheless do business with the government — receive federal funding.
Transportation systems receive federal funding.
Has the Supreme Court just opened the door for Biden’s administration to whack-a-mole its way to a federally imposed mandate after all? It would seem so.
“I am disappointed in the court’s decision, which is a major setback to the health and safety of workers across the country,” said Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who oversees OSHA. “Regardless of the ultimate outcome of these proceedings, OSHA will do everything in its existing authority to hold businesses accountable for protecting workers.”
That sounds mildly threatening, particularly when put in context of other remarks from this administration, post-SCOTUS ruling.
“I would note that there are a couple of good signs … in spite of the ruling that we would point to,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, in response to the SCOTUS decisions. “One is that 57%, according to a Navigator poll, of Americans support vaccine requirements.”
She also said the White House would continue to press businesses to act on their own to enforce vaccine mandates.
Biden, meanwhile, said this: “I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law. … It is now up to states and individual employers to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees, and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers during this pandemic by requiring employees to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated.”
In other words: This White House just spent its entire administration pushing for vaccine mandates, and by gosh, a vaccine mandate this White House will get — by hook, by crook, by pressure on states and businesses, by exploiting the loopholes left by the Supreme Court’s constitutionally conflicted rulings. By whatever means necessary.
In America, rights to the individual are either inherent, granted by birth, bestowed by the Creator, or they’re not.
In these two cases, justices basically said they’re not.
They left the door wide open for those of Big Government designs to continue to argue they’re not.
A battle over vaccine mandates may have been won.
But the war on individualism and God-given liberties is far from ended. And that is the fight that counts because it’s from that foundation that all citizens’ rights — yes, all — spring.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise Or America Will Fall,” is available by clicking HERE.
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