Op-EdAppeared in Carolina Journal on January 28, 2022By Alfredo Ortiz

Victory over employer vaccine mandate win for small businesses, liberty

Chalk up a win for small businesses, liberty, and the American people.

This week, the Biden administration withdrew its emergency employer vaccine mandate and ended its litigation efforts in the Sixth Circuit. The move follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this month in response to a challenge brought by the Job Creators Network and its small business co-petitioners as well as other groups to block the implementation of this mandate.

Striking down this vaccine rule will allow small businesses to focus on bringing the American economy and labor market back to their pre-pandemic peak. Employers can now avoid the significant costs associated with implementing and complying with this mandate. They can also breathe a sigh of relief that this rule won’t exacerbate the historic labor shortage they’re currently facing.

This small business win is also a great victory for grassroots defenders of American businesses. Job Creators Network was the first business group to sue the Biden administration over the mandate and the first to petition the high court for review. Defeating this rule demonstrates the power of advocacy groups to make meaningful changes to improve the economic wellbeing of American entrepreneurs and their employees. It’s a reminder that constitutionally conservative groups that fight big government policies represent a vital bulwark against illegal executive overreach.

The Supreme Court confirmed what JCN has long argued: OSHA does not have the authority to implement this sweeping regulation that will burden American businesses, including many small businesses, with significant new costs. Never before had the federal government mandated vaccines for so many Americans—let alone at the order of the president—without clear support from Congress through legislative action.

In its decision, the court wrote, “It is telling that OSHA, in its half-century of existence, has never before adopted a broad public health regulation of this kind—addressing a threat that is untethered, in any causal sense, from the workplace.”

Since COVID-19 spreads everywhere, not just the workplace, the court noted that OSHA’s rule would have granted the agency vast new powers. COVID-19 poses a “kind of universal risk [that] is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases,” it wrote in its decision.

“Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.”

In a concurring opinion, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito spoke directly to the constitutional principles that the country was founded on: “If Congress could hand off all its legislative powers to unelected agency officials, it ‘would dash the whole scheme’ of our Constitution and enable intrusions into the private lives and freedoms of Americans by bare edict rather than only with the consent of their elected representatives.” If only this warning was heeded throughout the executive branch.

The victory over this mandate marks just one battle in a larger war being waged on small businesses and American prosperity. Small businesses and ordinary Americans still face multifaceted threats from bad government policy that’s driving historic inflation, regulations, and public debt.

But conservative groups have much to celebrate. We have defeated the $5 trillion Build Back Better legislation that would have transformed the country into an entitlement state. And we have successfully beat back the attack on democracy and voting rights represented by H.R. 1 and its derivatives that would have nationalized elections and increased voter fraud.

It’s important to celebrate all these recent victories for small businesses and ordinary Americans before redoubling our efforts for the next fight.

Alfredo Ortiz is president and CEO of Job Creators Network.