On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court made a groundbreaking decision to uphold a stay on the President Joe Biden administration's vaccine mandate, previously implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's new policies.
The new OSHA policy, initially enforced by the federal government, mandated private companies with at least 100 employees to require their workers to be vaccinated or be tested weekly for COVID-19.
The case, "National Federation of Independent Business, et al., Applicants v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al." was argued last week by the Supreme Court before justices voted, 6-3, that the mandate cannot be enforced by private companies.
NFIB is the largest small business association in the U.S., headquartered in Nashville.
However, the justices decided to allow a vaccination requirement for health care workers at facilities that receive federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars.
Top local Republican leaders opposed the mandate, including Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, and Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and the Maury County Republican Party. Gov. Bill Lee also opposed the mandate.
The case went through a couple of federal circuit courts before reaching the Supreme Court.
On Nov. 5, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and six other attorneys general filed a lawsuit before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, challenging the mandate.
On Nov. 12, the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and ordered that OSHA take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order.
Then, in opposition, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a motion to lift the stay.
In response, on Dec. 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit dissolved the Fifth Circuit 's ruling to stay the mandate, which had put the OSHA mandate on hold.
On Dec. 18, Tennessee and 26 other states file an application with the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the mandate.
The Columbia Daily Herald asked citizens: What is your reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling to block the implementation of the federal vaccine mandate? They responded as follows:
"We support people being able to make their own free choices."
- Megan White, Spring Hill
"They need to do more research and look at the facts. People getting the booster and are who are vaccinated are still catching COVID. Now, what's the point of having a mandate? I think we should keep doing what we are doing, including staying sanitary and taking precautions such as washing hands and sanitizing. Keeping the immune system healthy and exercising are also very important factors."
- Ephraim Julius, Columbia
"I am a healthcare worker, and I wish that the court had taken their decision to t he next level, saying that healthcare workers didn't have to be mandated."
- Katie P., Spring Hill
"I think we avoided federal government overreach with the Supreme Court's decision. Like Benjamin Franklin said, 'Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.'"
- Eliot Ovsiew, Mt. Juliet
"We moved here from Los Angeles six months ago to get away from unnecessary oppressive COVID policies. But just from a constitutional standpoint, it was apparent that the OSHA mandate was to attempt to work around how our constitution is set up without going through the right channels. Taking my feelings out of it, it was the right ruling. Even if I disagreed, the Supreme Court should uphold the Constitution whether we like it or not."
- Robert Shaffer, Columbia
This article originally appeared on The Daily Herald: Porch Talk: Maury County residents weigh-in on Supreme Court decision