Claytoonz: Supreme workplace hazards
In ruling that the Biden administration can’t force large businesses to enact vaccine mandates, the conservative majority of the United States Supreme Court argued that the coronavirus is not an “occupational work hazard.” Don’t worry if they’re wrong because every member of the Supreme Court is vaccinated, so they don’t have to deal with the coronavirus hazard at their workplace.
The mandate applied to companies with over 100 employees. It required all employees to be vaccinated or be tested every week. This would have affected over 82 million workers, which is two-thirds of the U.S. workforce. Now thanks to the Supreme Court, you can still be an employed gaslighting anti-vaxxer Fauci-hating fucknut.
The Biden administration estimated the rule would save our nation from over 250,000 hospitalizations.
This was an Occupational Safety and Health Administration-designed rule, but the court doesn’t want OSHA to have any authority. They claim despite factories, meat-packing plants, grocery stores, distribution centers, etc, being super-spreader environments, covid is not an occupational hazard.
Previously, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had decided the OSHA rule was “an important step in curtailing the transmission of a deadly virus that has killed over 800,000 people in the United States, brought our healthcare system to its knees, and cost hundreds of thousands of workers their jobs.” This pandemic is an extreme event and the federal government should do everything it can to protect its citizens.
SCOTUS is afraid big government is overstepping its boundaries, but the Biden administration isn’t forcing people to be vaccinated. If anything, it hasn’t gone far enough. We need vaccine mandates for traveling on planes and trains. Hell, there should be a federal mandate for family get-togethers, maybe just to keep the creepy ranting uncles in their attics where they belong.
The majority on the nation’s highest court is ignoring that when you get COVID, it’s not just yours. It’s not a choice (which they also disagree with). This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. You have very little control if you catch it or not. The court’s ruling acts as if the government is infringing upon people’s right to catch and spread covid. What will they rule against next? Free vaccinations, free N95 masks, and free testing?
The conservative majority on the court is also afraid allowing OSHA to regulate here would expand its authority without congressional approval. But, Section 2 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 says “Congress declares it to be its purpose and policy, to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions [and] assure insofar as practicable that no employee will suffer diminished health, functional capacity, or life expectancy as a result of his work experience.” If you catch COVID at work, that’s a work experience.
OSHA’s power to regulate here was literally approved by Congress.
So far, I’ve caught two things the majority had to invent to issue their ruling. The first is that the coronavirus is not an occupational hazard. The second is that OSHA doesn’t have congressional approval.
But, since OSHA does have congressional approval to regulate where there are occupational hazards, this ruling is bullshit.
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority had to worm and squirm to find some easily debunked crap to base their opinion on. Next, they’ll base their rulings on Facebook memes.
The Supreme Court did allow the Biden rule to stand on vaccine mandates for hospital workers. This is a good thing because their other ruling against vaccine mandates is really going to put more people into hospitals.
Music note: I listened to U2 while drawing today’s cartoon.
Clay Jones is the 2022 recipient of the RFK Human Rights Journalism Award in Editorial Cartooning, and won a 2021 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. He was a finalist for the Herblock Prize in 2019 and a finalist for the National Headliner Award in 2020. See more award-winning editorial cartoons from him at Claytoonz.com.