WASHINGTON, D.C. – On December 30, 2021, Rep. Jason Smith filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States, along with 47 senators and 136 House members, asking the Supreme Court to block enforcement of President Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.
“This unconstitutional vaccine mandate is one of the most blatant abuses of power I’ve ever seen a president make in my lifetime,” said Congressman Jason Smith. “The fact that hardworking Americans are being forced to choose between their livelihoods and their medical freedom shocks me to my core. I’m proud to help lead this effort to encourage the Supreme Court to put this authoritarian mandate into the dustbin of history.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule, which is estimated to affect 84 million Americans, mandates that employers of 100 employees or more require their employees to be vaccinated or to submit to weekly testing and wear masks at work. Businesses found out of compliance with the mandate could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Despite the massive economic implications of this sweeping mandate, the rule was drafted in a mere five weeks.
In their brief, the Members write: “Congressional members have an interest in the powers they delegate to agencies not being abused—the legislative authority vested in the federal government belongs to Congress, not the Executive branch. In this case, the promulgation by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) of a sweeping, nationwide vaccine mandate on businesses intrudes into an area of legislative concern far beyond the authority of the agency. And it does so with a Mandate enacted through OSHA’s seldom-used ‘emergency temporary standard’ (ETS) provision that allows for bypass of notice and comment rulemaking under certain circumstances. That OSHA exceeded its authority in enacting the ETS Mandate is not a ‘particularly hard’ question.”
The members continue: “Moreover, congressional members—as representatives of the people of their States and districts—have an interest in the citizens they represent being able to craft local solutions to problems facing their States and districts. Federalism concerns should be addressed before requiring federally-imposed solutions. And this is especially true when the question at issue involves an area typically reserved to the States (such as vaccine mandates). At the least, Congress should be forced to make clear any delegations of authority into areas of State control.”
On December 17, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit lifted the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for large employers. The Department of Labor has stated it will begin enforcing the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on January 10, 2022.
SCOTUS is set to hear oral arguments on January 7, 2022 on whether to issue an emergency stay of the ETS.
Click here to view the Amicus Brief.