U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Monday joined 45 Senators and 136 Representatives in filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States urging the court to stay the Biden Administration’s order requiring COVID vaccines or weekly testing for all employees of private businesses with 100 or more employees.
Mississippi U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly (R) is also among the lawmakers signing the brief to the Supreme Court.
In the brief, the legislators argue that Congress did not give the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which will be implementing the order, the authority to impose a vaccine mandate. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in the case on January 7. If it is not blocked, the order will take effect on January 10 and authorize punitive action toward private businesses that do not comply starting February 9.
“Congressional members have an interest in the powers they delegate to agencies not being abused—the legislative authority vested in the federal government belongs to Congress, not the Executive branch,” the members wrote.
“The promulgation by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) of a sweeping, nationwide vaccine mandate on businesses intrudes into an area of legislative concern far beyond the authority of the agency. And it does so with a Mandate enacted through OSHA’s seldom-used ‘emergency temporary standard’ (ETS) provision that allows for bypass of notice and comment rulemaking under certain circumstances. That OSHA exceeded its authority in enacting the ETS Mandate is not a ‘particularly hard’ question.”
The members also asserted the rights of states and localities in overseeing the public interest for their citizens, such as through the oversight of vaccinations and public health.
“Moreover, congressional members—as representatives of the people of their States and districts—have an interest in the citizens they represent being able to craft local solutions to problems facing their States and districts,” the brief continues. “Federalism concerns should be addressed before requiring federally-imposed solutions. And this is especially true when the question at issue involves an area typically reserved to the States (such as vaccine mandates). At the least, Congress should be forced to make clear any delegations of authority into areas of State control.”
Read the full text of the brief here.