Tucson attorney breaks down SCOTUS decision

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 10:26 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - “Having read both opinions, I have them both here in hard copy, I don’t think it opened a can of worms,” said Thom Cope, a Tucson attorney. “It closed a can of worms is what it did.”

He says there are two major aspects to the supreme courts decision today. The first: it was blow to the Biden administration’s emergency mandate that would require companies with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated, or get tested for the virus weekly.

“The supreme court said look OSHA didn’t have the authority to give that mandate,” said Cope. “Congress doesn’t have the power to do that.”

In their six to three majority opinion the justices wrote “It is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most...COVID-19 can and does spread at home, in schools, during sporting events and everywhere else that people gather. That universal risk is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution or any number of communicable diseases.”

“OSHA’s mandate is to make sure there are no workplace hazards,” said Cope. “The supreme court said this is not a work place hazard it is a human hazard it can happen any where.”

This means all private sector businesses can make their own decisions and mandates when it comes to testing, masking and getting vaccinated.

Part two of the ruling deals with health care workers and employers specifically.

“The court said centers for Medicare may indeed mandate vaccination for medical workers who accept Medicare and Medicaid,” said Cope.

The justices said that a separate agency could issue a rule to protect the health and safety of Medicare and Medicaid patients. Cope wasn’t surprised by this ruling.

“I think that from a social policy stand point health care workers probably should to be vaccinated,” said Cope. “I think that’s what the SCOTUS meant they didn’t say it that way but that’s what they mean.”

Cope doesn’t expect the court to reverse their ruling.

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