(FiveNation.com)- While the Liberal Justices on the Supreme Court engaged in a lot of COVID disinformation during last week’s oral arguments on Biden’s two federal vaccine mandates, Conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett actually offered logical, reasonable, and Constitution-based questions.
Friday’s oral arguments addressed challenges to Biden’s OSHA rule mandating companies with over 100 employees to require workers be vaccinated and the regulation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requiring vaccinations for all health care workers.
And during questioning, Justice Coney Barrett pressed those defending the OSHA mandate by asking one particularly salient question: how long does OSHA expect this emergency to last?
The US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, representing the Biden administration in court, argued that OSHA was simply exercising the power granted by Congress under the OSHA Act of 1970 that directs OSHA to issue emergency rules to protect employees from exposure to “physically harmful” agents or new hazards. Prelogar claimed COVID-19 meets the definition because it threatens unvaccinated workers.
And since OSHA’s emergency rule can go into effect without the required prior notice-and-comment procedures, Prelogar argued, the vaccine mandate is in line with OSHA’s authority.
But Coney Barrett was not sold. She asked Prelogar, “when does the emergency end?”
Coney Barrett said if COVID is still around two years from now, would OSHA’s emergency still be in effect or would OSHA finally get around to going through the regular process of prior notice-and-comment. Coney Barrett pointed out that this “quick way” doesn’t give the people the voice in the process they are entitled to have.
In short, Justice Coney Barrett wanted to know if there are any limits at all to OSHA’s authority to issue an emergency rule.
She asked Prelogar if, based on her argument, OSHA could still consider this an emergency two years from now. In response, Prelogar told Coney Barrett the OSHA emergency rules “can be of a substantial duration.”
The SCOTUS decision on the two vaccine mandates is expected any day.