Health-Care Vaccine Mandate: DeSantis Claims Roberts, Kavanaugh Lack ‘Backbone’


Florida governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign rally at Pensacola International Airport in Pensacola, Fla., October 23, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis slammed Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh on Friday after the pair sided with the liberal justices to allow the Biden administration’s health care worker vaccine mandate to take effect.

The Court on Thursday temporarily suspended the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers on Thursday but allowed a vaccine mandate for health-care workers at facilities that receive federal funding to go into effect.

During an appearance on the Ruthless podcast, DeSantis said Roberts and Kavanaugh did not have a “backbone” when they chose to side with the liberals on the health care worker vaccine mandate.

“On the nurse mandate and the doctor mandate, Roberts and Kavanaugh joined with the liberals to allow the nurse mandate,” DeSantis said.

“So here’s what’s going on, think about how insane this is,” he said. “Now, in Florida, we protected the nurses, so we have people that are working. But in other states, they fired nurses who were not vaccinated.”

DeSantis said some hospitals, including in California, have been left so short-staffed that they are now allowing vaccinated Covid-positive employees to return to work.

“So they have COVID-positive people back on, meanwhile the unvaccinated, likely immune through prior infection, healthy nurses are on the sidelines fired,” DeSantis said. “How insane are these policies?”

“But honestly, Roberts and Kavanaugh did not have a backbone on that decision,” he added. “That’s just the bottom line.” 

DeSantis noted that he called a special session of the state legislature in November and provided protections to health care workers so they would not lose their jobs over the vaccine. He said the state would continue to enforce those protections.

On Thursday, the conservative majority on the bench ruled in a 6-3 vote to block the vaccine requirement for private businesses pending further review by the court, finding that OSHA lacked the authority to impose such a mandate. The law that created OSHA “empowers the Secretary to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures,” the Court said.

However, in the case of the vaccine requirement for healthcare workers at facilities that receive federal funding, the Court ruled that the mandates could be enacted given that those institutions fall within the government’s regulatory domain.

Congress granted the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to “impose conditions on the receipt of Medicaid and Medicare funds” that for the health and safety of individuals who provide those services, the Court said.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

Thomas argued in a dissenting opinion that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is not authorized to prescribe something as specific as a vaccine mandate by its respective laws.

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