Snub for Biden, the Supreme Court blocks the vaccination obligation in companies

Dirty Thursday for Joe Biden. While Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema torpedoed her electoral reform, the American president suffered a second setback. The Supreme Court of the United States has blocked its decision to impose the anti-Covid vaccine in companies with more than 100 employees, undermining its efforts to stem the pandemic. The high court, on the other hand, validated the vaccination obligation for employees of health structures who benefit from federal funds.

In the United States, where the virus has killed more than 845,000 people, only 62% of the population is fully vaccinated due to very marked political divisions on the issue.

After months of trying to convince the reluctant, Joe Biden announced in September that he wanted to make vaccination compulsory for employees of large companies, the medical sector and federal civil servants. In the land of individual freedoms, his decision was immediately denounced as an abuse of power by elected Republicans and by part of the economic world.

84 million employees concerned

The Supreme Court agreed with them on Thursday, at least with regard to the approximately 84 million people employed in companies with more than 100 employees. The administration has “ordered them to be vaccinated against Covid or undergo testing weekly, at their own expense. It is not the daily exercise of federal power, but an intrusion into the life and health of a large number of employees,” she wrote in her judgment.

The decision was taken with a majority of six out of nine magistrates, all conservatives. In a separate text, the three progressive judges of the Court accused them of having acted “outside their field of competence and without legal basis”.

Biden ‘disappointed’, Trump ‘proud’

“I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block a request of common sense, likely to save lives”, commented Joe Biden who has made the fight against the pandemic one of the priorities of his mandate. The experts were even more pessimistic. “This decision will lead to more suffering, death and overwhelmed hospitals,” tweeted Ashish Jha, a public health researcher at Brown University.

The Republicans, on the other hand, were jubilant. “Freedom has won!” tweeted former Republican Vice President Mike Pence, illustrating a widely shared view on the right that it is up to individuals to choose their means of protection, both on wearing a mask and on on the vaccine.

“We are proud that the Supreme Court resisted,” added former President Donald Trump, who during his tenure appointed three judges to the Temple of American Law. Some business associations also hailed a “huge victory,” while reaching out to the Democratic government.

“We call on the Biden administration to … work with employers, employees and health experts on concrete ways to increase vaccination rates and slow infections,” said David French, of the National Federation of Merchants.

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