National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Department of Labor, No. 21A244, consolidated with Ohio v. U.S. Department of Labor, No. 21A247. Oral Argument on Applications for Emergency Stay of OSHA Vaccine Mandate set for Friday, January 7, 2022.
Biden v. Missouri, No. 21A240, consolidated with Becerra v. Louisiana, No. 21A241. Oral Argument on Challenges to Stays of CMS Vaccine Mandate set for Friday, January 7, 2022.
The principal parties will be heard on Friday, January 7, 2022 concerning whether the U.S. Supreme Court ought to intervene to stop the implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) mandating vaccination against the Covid-19 virus or testing/masking for all employers with more than one hundred employees. Immediately thereafter, the Court will hear arguments concerning whether to dissolve stays imposed to halt the effect of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Rule requiring vaccination of health care workers in federally supported settings.
The parties are also seeking certiorari before judgment in their respective cases. Whether the Court will reach that issue at the same time that it addresses preliminary relief is not known.
What is known is that just as vaccination has engendered controversy nationally, interest groups, advocates, elected leaders, former officials, and professional associations have seized the occasion to submit their views to the U.S. Supreme Court in amicus briefs.
In broad brush, proponents of a stay of the OSHA vaccine mandate argue that OSHA does not have the authority to implement such a measure. In the absence of explicit Congressional delegation of authority, OSHA cannot act outside known statutory parameters without clearly articulated guidance. In addition, proponents of a stay assert that OSHA has no public health authority, as that is a police power reserved to the states. OSHA has no authority to act on an emergency basiss where no emergency exists. To like effect, OSHA erred in failing to permit notice and comment concerning its proposed vaccine mandate, as no actual emergency presenting a grave danger that requires intervention and excuses notice and comment exist.
Proponents of a stay of the OSHA vaccine mandate argue that vaccination is ineffective concerning transmission of the Covid-19 virus and that the ‘vaccination’ itself is actually a gene-modifying medical treatment.
In addition to the sweep of the OSHA measure, the federal intrusion on constitutionally protected individual interests in both bodily integrity and consent to medical treatment are implicated, requiring a hard look in advance of implementation.
Finally, and not insignificantly, one amicus suggests that the imposition of vaccination or testing and masking measures within workplaces will precipitate medical segregation, an adverse social consequence.
Those who applaud the arrival of the OSHA mandate assert that the Covid-19 pandemic is the most deadly viral infection event in U.S. history and that the workplace is a petri dish for contamination, making vaccination or masking and testing a valid first line of defense. Some amici fear that if the mandate is not implemented, the consequences will spill over to their businesses to dismal effect.
Presented below are thumbnails of the various amicus submissions concerning the OSHA vaccine mandate. While the CMS Rule requiring health care provider vaccination is of great importance, limitations of time and space prevent development of those arguments here.
Advancing American Freedom in Support of Applications for Stay or Injunction Pending Review
These advocates for traditional values oppose the encroachment of the federal judgment and the administrative state. There are grave dangers inherent in governmental invocation of emergency measures, particularly where, as here, the vaccine mandate does not address an emergency but presents a “work around” to avoid the necessity of Congressional action and/or administrative notice and comment. OSHA’s emergency powers are to be used sparingly, and even as such, only one survived judicial challenge.
America’s Frontline Doctors as Amicus Curiae in Support of Applicant
Member physicians do not believe the vaccines prevent the spread of Covid-19, and, as result, there exists no basis for segregation of the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
The current vaccines are mischaracterized as such. They are gene-modifying treatments that may reduce symptoms.
The proper legal analysis should be derived from the strict scrutiny considerations of personal rights to refuse medical treatment. The OSHA mandate would not survive such analysis, as it is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest. They do not inhibit contagion, and thus do not serve the arguably compelling state interest in public health. And the vaccine mandate is not narrowly tailored as the treatments do not consider risk factors or natural immunity. There is evidence that natural immunity confers a long term benefit and there are also newly developed treatments to assist in addressing the virus.
American Medical Association, et al.as Amici in Opposition to Applications for Stay
These established medical professional associations perceive a severe risk to public health through higher workplace transmissions. Vaccination can reduce the risk of contraction of the virus, result in less severe cases of illness, and less contagion.
Testing offers no greater protection than nothing at all. Masking may be helpful, but is not as good as vaccination.
American Public Health Association, et al. as Amici in Support of Respondents
Public health associations observe that airborne viruses make the workplace particularly hazardous. Covid-19 mortality is higher for in-person workers.
Vaccination provides some insulation against transmission. Moreover, vaccination diminishes transmission and therefore, mutation.
Center for Medical Freedom, et al. as Amici in Support of Applicants
Conservative groups opine that the vaccine mandate is”exactly what the Framers most feared when they established the federal government: a raw exercise of arbitrary power.” (Amicus Brief, p. 3).
OSHA is a child of the commerce clause. There is no authority to regulate anything i the absence of commerce, and the impact of inaction on commerce is not a valid premise for commerce clause legislation.
Reliance on Jacobson is misplaced, a statue measure was in issue there and as more than a century of subsequent law has been amassed, placing Jacobson’s vitality in question, and this is particularly so where Jacobson was conceived during the ascendancy of the eugenics movement.
Justice Gorsuch has already rejected Jacobson as a premise for emergency extra-constitutional federal health measures.
There is no federal police power that would support a vaccine mandate.
Moreover, the premics of the mandate is flawed, as it is false to say the unvaccinated cause the pandemic.
Death attributable to the Covid-19 vaccines, which are ene therapy, suggest the vaccines themselves present substantial hazards.
Separation of powers principles caution against implementation of the sort the OSHA vaccine mandate contemplates.
Constitutional Accountability Center as Amicus Curiae in Opposition to Applications for Stay or Injunction Pending Review
This progressive think tank and advocacy center submits that delegation with intelligible, principled guidance is appropriate, and that here that intelligible and principled guidance is found in the directive that OSHA may issue emergency orders where necessary to address a grave danger.
Just because a measure is broad, this does not mean it is unintelligible. Where such guidance has been provided, there should be no second-guessing agency action.
Defending the Republic in Support of Emergency Applications for Stay or Injunction Pending Certiorari
Defending the Republic is engaged in challenging the vaccine mandate applicable to the Department of Defense, arguing that the mandate presents unconstitutional infringements on religious freedoms and the right to refuse medical treatment.
The vaccine mandates represent unprecedented federal usurpations of power. Nearly the entirety of the adult federal workforce is being conscripted to receive an experimental and irreversible medical treatment.
Former OSHA Administrators Charles Jeffress, David Michaels, and Gerard Scannell as Amici in Opposition to Emergency Applications for Stay(or Injunction) Pending Certiorari Review
Three former Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials oppose a stay of the OSHA vaccine mandate, as it would impede implementation of measures intended to stop Covid-19.
OSHA may regulate exposure to workplace hazards, including communicable disease, and may develop measures for immunization with religious exemptions. OSHA can include the impact of workplace hazards on families, and has responded to concerns with bloodborne illnesses, hazardous waste, and respiratory conditions.
Where the Secretary acts within statutory authorization, Chevon deference should be the norm.
Simply because a condition exists outside the workplace does not mean that OSHA cannot address the condition within the workplace.
IU Family for Choice, Not Mandates, Inc. in Support of Applicants
An Indiana university coalition advocates for medical autonomy within the university community. The group supports freedom of choice and opposes medical segregation or discrimination regarding access to education, employment, housing and community events.
Covid-19 vaccines do not prevent infection and transmission. The vaccines are better considered to be medical treatments ameliorating more serious aspects of Covid-19, but they are not a public health measure.
OSHA does not have the authority to require unwanted medical treatment. It is noteworthy that the Centers for Disease Control changed the definition of”vaccine” to conform to Covid-19 therapeutics.
The OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard violates principles of bioethics concerning autonomy and choice in medical treatment.
OSHA does not have police powers. The states, not federal agencies, have police powers and those police powers are bound by the Constitution.
OSHA cannot force the test/vaccine choice on the employee and pre-enforcement review requires a ‘harder look’ at such a measure. Rigorous scrutiny is required where medical autonomy and consent are in issue.
Jacobson does not apply here because the OSHA mandate concerns a medical treatment, not a public health measure.
A personal decision to refuse a medical treatment does not create a risk to others to whom disease might spread. Refusal only impacts the person who refuses.
The presupposition that vaccines would slow the spread of disease is in error.
Jason Feliciano and the International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers as Amicus in Support of Applications for Stay or Injunction
The individual and organizational amici provide credentialing for chaplains in the military. The organization exists to promote religious free exercise.
Amicus objects to the OSHA vaccine mandate as it is not a true vaccine, as the overwhelming survival rate of persons with Covid-19 infections suggests that there is no grave hazard, and as the mandate fails to consider religious concerns. OSHA does not have authority to impose measures where there is no hazard. This is particularly problematic where the proposed measure does not inhibit transmission or contraction of the Covid-19 virus and associated illness. Moreover, the fact that the Centers for Disease Control changed the definition of ‘vaccine’ to include the current injections is problematic.
Those who resist vaccination are subject to punishment, either in the form of loss of their livelihoods, or, if masking and testing is chosen, in the form of fines, as the individual employee must bear the not insignificant costs of testing. Further, testing does not provide valid information about contagion and thus is not helpful in curbing disease transmission, and a distinction between testing unvaccinated versus vaccinated individuals makes no sense, as both unvaccinated and vaccinated persons can transmit the Covid-19 virus.
Finally, the social costs of the vaccine mandate are difficult to calculate, as the mandate may usher in an era of medical segregation in which the vaccinated obtain a status superior to those who are not vaccinated.
Liberty, Life and Law Foundation as Amicus in Support of Applicants
Concerned with constitutional liberties in the context of expanding federal powers, amicus foundation asserts that Jacobson was not a blank check. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905). Congress must use especially clear language where, as here, Congress intends to upset the balance between federal and state powers.
Emergencies cannot be pretexts for denials of civil liberties and usurpation of powers. The measures in issue raise concerns about bodily integrity, informed consent, and refusal of medical treatment.
Jacobson was a narrow ruling which recognized the potential for government overreach. Current analysis should require a compelling government interest. Even if a compelling government interest could be found, the government has not chosen the least intrusive means of serving that interest.
Local Unions 1249 and 97 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Support of Emergency Applications for a Stay Pending Certiorari Review
The electrical workers’ unions think that unvaccinated members should not be forced to choose between vaccination and supporting their families. The vaccine mandate is well outside OSHA’s traditional bailiwick.
Unions can work with management quite effectively to develop Covid-19 policy. Particularly as the virus and infections will change over time, it is preferable to allow for hands on negotiation rather than to accept top-down demands.
Traditionally, OSHA does not regulate employers and employees. Here, there are significant personal cost consequences to employees and a demand that employees subite to an irreversible medical procedure that affects the individual both when working and when not working.
Although it is true that a hazard need not be solely a workplace hazard for regulation to be proper, the federal government does not routinely impose costs on employees.
Members of Congress as Amici Curiae in Support of Applicants
One hundred eighty three members of both houses of Congress fer the disregard of separation of powers principles that th eOSHA vaccine mandate represents. Congress has not authorized OSHA’s action: theser exist no deletion of power nor an intelligible principle to support delegation of power to OSHA. Public health care does not fall within OSHA”s emergency powers, yet OSHA wants to expand those powers outside the workplace. There is no grave danger that OSHA might address nor is a virus a toxic or hazardous agent as contemplated in the OSHA act.
The vaccine mandate lacks the ‘necessity’ the OSHA statute requires and the measure itself does not inhibit contagion and contamination. A rule that does nothing to address a (non-extant) grave danger is not a measure that is “necessary,” as the OSHA statute contemplates.
Equally problematic is the absence of any limiting principles application to ASHA’s actions, which gives rise to non-delegation concerns. The purpose of reducing the number of unvaccinated individuals on its face exceeds OSHA”s jurisdiction to regulate some workplace safety concerns. And even if there were authority to act, the failure of Congress to state clearly the principles to guide OSHA causes ‘major questions’ doctrine problems as the vaccine mandate upsets the federal – state power balance.
National Disability Rights Network and the Judge David L. Bazelon Mental Health Law Center as Amici in Opposition to Applications for Stay
Advocates for the physically and mentally disabled support the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard because, they assert, the physically and mentally disapbled are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 workplace infection, and face higher mortality rates if they are infected. Those who refuse vaccination or refusing masking and testing present a new workplace hazard. Studies suggest that the Emergency Temporary Standard is a necessary measure in mitigation. Enjoying the Emergency Temporary Standard would disproportionately affect medically vulnerable and disabled persons.
National Employment Lawyers Association and Jobs with Justice Education Fund in Opposition to Emergency Applications for a Stay or Injunction Pending Review
Acceptance of petitioners’ arguments would open many existing workplace regulations to challenge.
If workers are given a liberty interest superseding federal regulatory powers, then workers may refuse to work.
The federal government has regulated workplaces in the past, i.e., with drug testing, permitting physical qualifications for work, mandating retirement, and regulating the use of hard hats or the advisability of beards.
With respect to major questions, judicial line drawing between major and minor issues is not committed to the judicial branch.
Petitioners’ Commerce Clause argument would invalidate all federal employment legislation. It is well established that federal regulation may be applied to noneconomic activity with economic consequences.
Small Business Majority, et al. in Opposition to Emergency Applications for Stay or Injunction Pending Certiorari
Small businesses fear that a stay will cause them to lose the protections that would flow from large businesses’ compliance with the OSHA vaccine mandate. As some states have interfered with eemployers’ efforts to require vaccination, federal intervention is needed.
Standard Process, Inc. in Support of Emergency Application for Administrative Stay, Stay, and Alternative Petition for Stay Certiorari Before Judgment
This whole food nutritional supplementation manufacturer fears that the OSHA vaccine mandate will precipitate mass employee resignations,and that, owing to Standard Process’s rural location, those employees will not be replaced.
Testing is not accessible in the way that the government would like to believe. Equally importantly, employer compliance costs are extraordinary and are neither private nor self-contained.
In all, the vaccine mandate needlessly undermines both private and public interests.
Texas Values, et al. as Amici n Support of Applicants
States’ ‘family values” policy advocates object to widespread regulation of employees without notice and comment and without proper concern for religious exercise. The administrative state is particularly prone to disregarding religious liberty. OSHA has taken the position that employees’ religious interests are outside OSHA’s purview, but even with their ‘proper’ administrative nice, those concerns do not receive fair treatment, as employers may disregard religious concerns where addressing them would require more than de minimis costs. The public has been denied a voice in the development of this sweeping measure, a measure which lies outside OSHA’s statutory authority.
Tore Says LLC in Support of Petitioners
This multimedia news outlet focuses on the thinking of the founding fathers with particular concern for the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Corporations have constitutional rights, and ought to be free from government intrusion, as the government has only those rights which are granted to it by the people. The Ninth Amendment guarantees against federal intrusion and the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees against state intrusion.
Because of the Ninth Amendment, there is no authority for the government intrusion that the vaccine mandate represents, but even if there were such a power to intrude, that power would be reserved to the states.
Public health traditionally is entrusted to the states. No federal police power exist to support the board exercise of federal powers in issue here.
Washington Legal Foundation in Support of Applicants
This foundation supports free enterprise, individual rights, limited government, and the rule of law. The vaccine mandates are causing supply chain issues and rising prices. The vaccine mandate is not within OSHA’s authority but if it were notice and comment would be needed, not an emergency measure implemented outside ordinary procedure.
The mandate presente employees with a forced choice between vaccination,testing, or losing employment.
The emergency measure is odd in that in June, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit observed that OSHA need not issue a mandate. This is all the more curious because the nation is more than one year, and closer to two years, beyond the inception of the pandemic, and the government wants to use an ‘emergency’ measure.
This is a fitting case for granting certiorari before judgment, given the time constraints presented by the Emergency Temporary Standard, which will expire by its terms in six months.
We the Patriots USA in Support of Emergency Applications for Stay or Injunction Pending Review and for Certiorari Before Judgment
This group defines itself as promoting constitutional rights and offers that the vaccine mandate represents the largest disruption of personal choice and bodily integrity in history.
Since Jacobson, substantive due process rights have developed in recognition of individual fundamental unenumerated rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Tiers of tests for unenumerated rights have been inconsistently applied, sometimes utilizing strict scrutiny, and sometimes not, depending on whether bodily integrity or self-determination is in issue. Abortion is recognized as a fundamental right, while refusal of medical treatment requires balancing of personal and state interests, with the scales favoring the state. This uneven treatment of similar questions needs to be addressed.
The vaccination or testing/masking alternatives are not true alternatives because the costs of testing, which must be borne by employees, are so prohibitive that the average employee is forced to submit to vaccination.
The Commerce Clause concerns economic issues only and is not concerned with non-economic public health activity, which belongs to the states.
It is not proper to characterize any skepticism concerning the vaccines as an “anti-vax” position. The reliance on inconsistent statements of “experts” about Covid-19 is of great concern.
The OSHA vaccine mandate is a major question because mandatory medical treatment for vast portions of the population is a major political and economic question.
State power to administer public health measures should be retained. The regulation of containment and remediation of viral transmission is a state matter, but in any case the regulation of a virus is not a regulation of activity within the Commerce Clause.
Upholding the vaccine mandate would open the door to unprecedented federal regulation of public health questions.