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Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers

President Biden's vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers has been blocked by the Supreme Court. 

The court in a 6-3 decision on Thursday blocked the Biden administration's mandate that businesses with more than 100 employees require workers to either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask and get tested weekly, ruling that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have the authority to implement it, CNN and The New York Times report

"Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly," the opinion said. "Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category."

A federal appeals court had in November temporarily halted the Biden administration's mandate, but in December, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it could take effect. "To protect workers, OSHA can and must be able to respond to dangers as they evolve," Judge Jane B. Stranch said at the time, per the Times

The Supreme Court did, however, rule Thursday that the administration can enforce a vaccine mandate for health care workers, according to The Associated Press. This mandate will effect around 20 million workers, according to NBC News

The Supreme Court's liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, were highly critical of the Thursday decision, writing in a dissent, "As disease and death continue to mount, this court tells the agency that it cannot respond in the most effective way possible. Without legal basis, the court usurps a decision that rightfully belongs to others. It undercuts the capacity of the responsible federal officials, acting well within the scope of their authority, to protect American workers from grave danger."