US Supreme Court
US Supreme Court iStock

The US Supreme Court overturned a controversial vaccine mandate imposed by the Biden administration on employees of large companies, while upholding a narrow vaccine mandate on health workers.

In a pair of rulings handed down Thursday, the court struck down the federal requirement imposed by President Biden, via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), on companies with 100 or more workers obliging employees to either get vaccinated against COVID, or submit to regular testing.

The mandate, which impacted roughly 80 million Americans, was struck down in a 6-3 ruling, with all six justices appointed by Republicans, often referred to as the court’s conservative wing, opposing the mandate, while all three Democratic appointees dissented.

The ruling came in response to a petition by the State of Ohio and a group of businesses against the OSHA mandate, after a lower court reverse an injunction freezing implementation of the mandate.

However, the court narrowly upheld a second vaccine mandate, ruling 5-4 in favor of the Biden administration requirement that workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health facilities be required to get vaccinated against COVID.

The Biden administration health worker mandate impacts some 10.3 million employees at roughly 76,000 facilities across the US.

Two conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined the three Democratic appointees to back the health worker mandate, which imposed the requirement on all facilities which receive federal funds in the form of Medicare or Medicaid, conditioning the receipt of the subsidies on implementation of the mandate.