Pence advocacy group urges Supreme Court to reject federal vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses

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Former Vice President Mike Pence, through his political advocacy group, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's vaccine-or-test mandate covering businesses with 100 or more employees, according to The Hill.

On Jan. 3, Mr. Pence's group, Advancing American Freedom, announced that it filed an amicus brief on the matter.

The brief, which was shared with The Hill, was filed in response to a decision by a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Dec. 17 to reinstate the mandate after challenges to the rule were consolidated at that court. The decision overturned a November decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to temporarily block the federal government from moving forward with the rule. The nation's highest court is scheduled to consider emergency requests related to the mandate Jan. 7.

Advancing American Freedom argues in the brief that OSHA's emergency temporary standard is unconstitutional.

"Through the separation of powers, the framers of our Constitution placed boundaries and limitations on the ability of the executive branch unilaterally to impose mandates on American citizens, and to erect barriers to work, that are far outside the contemplation or authorization of the peoples' elected representatives in Congress," the group said. "OSHA's ETS entirely ignores those limitations. This court must act now to prevent the irreparable harm to Americans, to jobs, and to constitutional governance that will be done if OSHA's mandate is permitted to take effect."

President Joe Biden's administration on Dec. 30 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to keep the mandate in place amid the pandemic, according to The Hill.

The publication reported that the Justice Department argues that the 1970 law that established OSHA is clear that the policy "falls squarely within OSHA's statutory authority."

OSHA's vaccinate-or-test mandate is expected to cover more than 80 million workers. Businesses covered by the emergency temporary standard are required to establish a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they require workers to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing and wear a face covering at work.

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