WASHINGTON (WV News) — Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has joined 46 other senators and 136 members of the House of Representatives in signing an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers.
The brief argues Congress did not give the Occupational Safety and Health Administration the authority to impose a vaccine mandate on employers and encourages the Court to stay the policy.
In the brief, the members write: “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. In this case, the promulgation by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration 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’ 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 continue, “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. 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.”
Capito is the latest West Virginia official to join efforts opposing the Biden administration’s COVID-19 policies.
On Dec. 22, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced his office would be joining a multi-state lawsuit against the Biden administration over its requirements for masks on students and vaccine requirements for staff and volunteers in Head Start programs.
“This is yet another unlawful attempt by the Biden administration to impose vaccine mandates upon workers and volunteers, which will hurt already-struggling staffs in underserved communities and likely impede child development,” Morrisey said. “This effort goes even further by requiring universal masking for everyone over the age of two who is associated with the program. This mandate will ultimately hurt, not help the working families, single parents, and grandparents raising grandchildren who desperately depend on programs such as Head Start.”
The states allege that the Head Start mandate is not only beyond the executive branch’s authority and arbitrary and capricious, but it also violates various federal laws passed by Congress.
In addition to joining the challenge to the OSHA policy, Morrisey’s office has also joined suits challenging federally imposed vaccine mandates on health-care workers and federal contractors.