Supreme Court blocks Biden’s vaccination requirement for larger companies – Politics

US President Joe Biden had little choice but to record his recent defeat as at least a partial success. His success: The Supreme Court, the country’s highest court, ruled on Thursday evening that Biden’s government can actually impose compulsory vaccination at the workplace for a good ten million people who work in parts of the healthcare system that are supported with money from the state. “This decision will save lives,” Biden wrote in an official White House statement.

The defeat: Biden had to accept that the Supreme Court had also rejected compulsory vaccination for more than 80 million Americans who work in companies with more than 100 employees.

Biden had planned this initiative as a decisive step in the fight against the increasingly rapid spread of the omicron variant of the corona virus. He wanted employees in larger companies to have two choices. Either they have full vaccination against the virus, or they get tested once a week and wear a mask at work.

The government deliberately provided this campaign with the right to exceptions because many people in the USA do not want to be vaccinated for a variety of reasons. For example, the ordinance provided for exceptions for religious reasons and for people who mainly work outdoors. In addition, the employees who were unwilling to be vaccinated would not have had to pay for the weekly tests themselves. However, the Supreme Court rejected the initiative by a vote of six to three.

This means that the six judges nominated by the Republican Party voted unanimously against the three nominated by the Democrats. The case is seen by many observers as another example of the fact that the ideological divide in the US extends all the way to the Supreme Court.

However, the nine judges made a surprisingly different decision on a government application that was also pending. With five to four votes, the court allowed vaccination in large parts of the health care system. Conservative Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh voted with the Liberal minority on the court.

Biden welcomed this second decision. He regretted that he had suffered a defeat in the more important decision about compulsory vaccination in larger companies. “I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided to block life-saving measures in larger companies that are common sense and based on law and science.” The court, on the other hand, saw compulsory vaccination as too great an encroachment on the personal freedom of citizens.

The corona numbers in the USA are still not good. According to a survey by the New York Times, 1,800 people die every day as a result of the disease. According to the newspaper, there have been more than 840,000 corona deaths so far. Only 63 percent of the United States population is considered fully vaccinated, and 75 percent have received a dose of vaccine.

These numbers vary drastically from state to state. In the Republican-dominated states in the south of the country and in some states in the mid-northwest such as North Dakota or South Dakota, the willingness to be vaccinated is extremely low. In northeastern states like Vermont or Maine or Rhode Island, on the other hand, it is even difficult to find unvaccinated people. These states lean towards the Democrats.

However, the fact that Biden has now lost at least the main issue before the Supreme Court does not mean that employees who are unwilling to be vaccinated are immune to the consequences. Several US companies had already announced before the ruling that they would implement the government’s guidelines regardless of the Supreme Court ruling.

The banking company Citigroup is probably the most radical. It told its staff that they either had to be vaccinated by January 14 or were given unpaid leave by the end of the month – if they were still not vaccinated they would be fired.

The good news is that the wave of new infections with the omicron variant of the coronavirus appears to be flattening out in the United States. This is consistent with data from South Africa and the UK, where the variant had spread earlier.

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