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Ohio argues against federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate in U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on South Dakota v. Wayfair in June 2018.
Steve Heap
U.S. Supreme Court

The state is challenging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) rule that workers in companies with more than 100 people must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly for the virus.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the legal challenge to federal COVID-19 vaccine requirements for certain employers. Ohio led the case as the named plaintiff along with 26 other states against the rule issued through President Joe Biden.

Attorney General Dave Yost (R-Ohio) is fully vaccinated and says getting the shot is the right choice to make for most people.

However, he says the court case isn't challenging the wisdom of the vaccine, but the overreach of a government regulatory agency and the executive branch.

"Once you give a bureaucrat the vast power to implement these kinds of mandates through the OSHA, you'll never close that door," says Yost who adds that this kind of policy should be created by law through the legislative branch.

Attorneys arguing for the federal rule say OSHA has the authority to implement these types of policies for workplace safety.

"To suggest that OSHA is precluded from using the most common, routine, safe, effective, proven strategy to fight an infectious disease at work would be a departure from how the statute should be understood," says Elizabeth Prelogar, U.S. solicitor general.

After traveling by car to Washington, D.C. -- Ohio Solicitor General Ben Flowers had to make the state's oral arguments remotely after testing positive for COVID-19.

Yost says Flowers, who is fully vaccinated, had previously tested positive last week and that his symptoms went away after a few days. However, he tested positive again after taking a required COVID-19 test before entering the U.S. Supreme Court building.

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