The court ruled 6-3, with the six conservative justices in the majority and three liberal justices dissenting, in blocking the rule involving large businesses, Reuters and other news outlets reported. The Biden mandate would have applied to more than 80 million employees.
As noted by Reuters, the conservative justices played down the risk of COVID-19 in workplace, comparing it instead to "day-to-day" crime and pollution hazards that individuals face everywhere.
Calling the decision a major setback for workers' health and safety, labor secretary Marty Walsh said OSHA would use its existing authority to make sure businesses are protecting employees.
One of the largest doctors’ groups in the nation, the American Medical Association, also voiced its disappointment. “In the face of a continually evolving COVID-19 pandemic that poses a serious danger to the health of our nation, the Supreme Court today halted one of the most effective tools in the fight against further transmission and death from this aggressive virus,” said AMA president Gerald Harmon.
However, in a separate ruling released at the same time, 5-4 court majority sided with the Biden administration vaccination rules for healthcare workers.