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Supreme Court of the United States
January 13, 2022, Decided
Nos. 21A244 and 21A247.
[**450] [*662] PER CURIAM.
The Secretary of Labor, acting through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, recently enacted a vaccine mandate for much of the Nation’s work force. The mandate, which employers must enforce, applies to roughly 84 million workers, covering virtually all employers with at least 100 employees. It requires that covered workers receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and it pre-empts contrary state laws. The only exception [**451] is for workers who obtain a medical test each week at their own expense and on their own time, and also wear a mask each workday. OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure [*663] similar to what OSHA has promulgated here.
Many States, businesses, and nonprofit organizations challenged OSHA’s rule in Courts of Appeals across the country. The Fifth Circuit initially entered a stay. But when the cases were consolidated before the Sixth Circuit, that court lifted the stay and allowed OSHA’s rule to take effect. Applicants [***2] now seek emergency relief from this Court, arguing that OSHA’s mandate exceeds its statutory authority and is otherwise unlawful. Agreeing that applicants are likely to prevail, we grant their applications and stay the rule.
] Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. 84 Stat. 1590, 29 U. S. C. §651 et seq. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is part of the Department of Labor and under the supervision of its Secretary. As its name suggests, OSHA is tasked with ensuring occupational safety—that is, “safe and healthful working conditions.” §651(b). It does so by enforcing occupational safety and health standards promulgated by the Secretary. §655(b). Such standards must be “reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment.” §652(8) (emphasis added). They must also be developed using a rigorous process that includes notice, comment, and an opportunity for a public hearing. §655(b).
] The Act contains an exception to those ordinary notice-and-comment procedures for “emergency temporary standards.” §655(c)(1). Such standards may “take immediate effect upon publication in the Federal Register.” Ibid. They are permissible, however, only in the narrowest of circumstances: the Secretary must show (1) “that employees are [***3] exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards,” and (2) that the “emergency standard is necessary to protect employees from such danger.” Ibid. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, the Secretary had used this power just nine times before (and never to issue a rule as broad as this one). Of those nine emergency rules, six were challenged in court, and only one of those was upheld in full. See BST Holdings, L.L.C. v. Occupational Safety and Health Admin., 17 F. 4th 604, 609 (CA5 2021).
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142 S. Ct. 661 *; 211 L. Ed. 2d 448 **; 2022 U.S. LEXIS 496 ***; 29 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 66; 2022 WL 120952
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS, ET AL., APPLICANTS v. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, ET AL.; OHIO, ET AL., APPLICANTS v. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, ET AL.
Notice: The pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.
Prior History: [***1] ON APPLICATIONS FOR STAYS
Mass. Bldg. Trades Council v. United States DOL (In re MCP No. 165), 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 37349, 2021 WL 5989357 (6th Cir., Dec. 17, 2021)
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Business & Corporate Compliance, Labor & Employment Law, Occupational Safety & Health, Industry Standards, Administrative Proceedings, OSHA Rulemaking, Administrative Law, Separation of Powers, Legislative Controls, Explicit Delegation of Authority, Scope of Delegated Authority