MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WDTN) – President Biden announced Thursday that as part of his six-step plan to battle COVID-19, businesses with more than 100 employees will soon be required to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for their workers or regular COVID-19 testing.
This impacts nearly 100 million Americans employed in these businesses. Soon after the announcement, backlash sparked, as people questioned whether the president had the authority to implement a mandate of this magnitude.
Thaddeus Hoffmeister, attorney and professor of law at the University of Dayton, said he expects to see litigation in relation to the vaccine mandate soon.
“It impacts so many folks, that this is going to get fast-tracked to the Supreme Court,” Hoffmeister said.
“This is not a law passed by congress,” he explained. “My understanding is that it is a mandate, an executive sort of order based through the rule making process of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).”
If the case does go to federal court, or even the Supreme Court, Hoffmeister said there are some precedents that could allow for Biden to continue on the path forward.
The most notable is Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905 where the state of Massachusetts required citizens to be vaccinated for smallpox.
Hoffmeister explains that if taken to court, Biden will have to prove that he made this decision because of the threat of grave danger to Americans. Whether or not this will work in pushing the mandate forward is still yet to be seen.
“It is, to me, an unprecedented step for the president to do this and there will be questions asked and litigation to follow,” Hoffmeister said. “We will have to see what the court’s say.”
Local employers that meet the qualifications said they haven’t received any guidance or direction from the federal government on carrying out this mandate yet. Many expect lawsuits and other legal struggles may delay the official implementation.
Regardless, they encourage people to get the vaccine in order to stay protected against COVID-19.