WASHINGTON, D.C.—North Dakota’s Congressional delegation has joined more than 130 U.S. Representatives and more than 40 U.S. Senators in filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in an upcoming case considering the Biden administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring private employers with over 100 employees to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing. The brief argues that Congress did not give OSHA the authority to impose a vaccine mandate and urges SCOTUS to stay the mandate.
In the brief, the Members wrote: “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 (OSHA) 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’ (ETS) 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 continued: “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.”
Full text of the brief is available here.
In addition to Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Kevin Cramer, and Rep. Kelly Armstrong, the brief was signed by:
Sens. John Barrasso, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Mike Braun, Richard Burr, Shelley Moore Capito, Bill Cassidy, Tom Cotton, John Cornyn, Mike Crapo, Ted Cruz, Steven Daines, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, Lindsey O. Graham, Chuck Grassley, Bill Hagerty, Josh Hawley, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Jim Inhofe, Ron Johnson, John Kennedy, James Lankford, Cynthia Lummis, Michael S. Lee, Roger Marshall, Mitch McConnell, Jerry Moran, Lisa Murkowski, Rand Paul, Rob Portman, James E. Risch, Mike Rounds, Marco Rubio, Ben Sasse, Rick Scott, Tim Scott, Richard C. Shelby, Dan Sullivan, John Thune, Thom Tillis, Patrick Toomey, Roger Wicker, and Todd Young.
Reps. Rick W. Allen, Elise Stefanik, Virginia Foxx, Jim Banks, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Robert Aderholt, Mark Amodei, Jodey C. Arrington, Brian Babin, Don Bacon, James R. Baird, Troy Balderson, Andy Barr, Jack Bergman, Andy Biggs, Dan Bishop, Mo Brooks, Vern Buchanan, Ted Budd, Michael C. Burgess, M.D., Kat Cammack, Earl “Buddy” Carter, Steve Chabot, Ben Cline, Michael Cloud, Andrew Clyde, James Comer, Eric A. “Rick” Crawford, Dan Crenshaw, Warren Davidson, Rodney Davis, Jeff Davis, Neal Dunn, Ron Estes, Pat Fallon, Drew Ferguson, IV, Michelle Fischbach, Scott Fitzgerald, Brian Fitzpatrick, Chuck Fleischmann, Jeff Fortenberry, Russ Fulcher, Matt Gaetz, Mike Gallagher, Bob Gibbs, Louie Gohmert, Bob Good, Lance Gooden, Paul Gosar, Kay Granger, Garret Graves, Mark Green, Marjorie Taylor Greene, H. Morgan Griffith, Glenn Grothman, Michael Guest, Brett Guthrie, Andy Harris, M.D., Diana Harshbarger, Vicky Hartzler, Yvette Herrell, Jody Hice, French Hill, Ashley Hinson, Richard Hudson, Darrell Issa, Ronny L. Jackson, Chris Jacobs, Bill Johnson, Dusty Johnson, Mike Johnson, Jim Jordan, John Joyce, M.D., Fred Keller, Trent Kelly, David Kustoff, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Jake LaTurner, Debbie Lesko, Billy Long, Barry Loudermilk, Nancy Mace, Nicole Malliotakis, Tracey Mann, Thomas Massie, Brian Mast, Lisa McClain, Tom McClintock, Patrick McHenry, David B. McKinley, P.E., Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dan Meuser, Mary Miller, Carol D. Miller, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D., John Moolenaar, Alexander X. Mooney, Barry Moore, Blake Moore, Markwayne Mullin, Gregory F. Murphy, M.D., Dan Newhouse, Ralph Norman, Jay Obernolte, Burgess Owens, Steven Palazzo, Gary Palmer, Scott Perry, August Pfluger, Bill Posey, Mike D. Rogers, John Rose, David Rouzer, Chip Roy, John Rutherford, Austin Scott, Adrian Smith, Jason Smith, Lloyd Smucker, Victoria Spartz, Michelle Steel, W. Gregory Steube, Claudia Tenney, Glenn “GT” Thompson, Beth Van Duyne, Ann Wagner, Tim Walberg, Jackie Walorski, Randy Weber, Bruce Westerman, Roger Williams, Joe Wilson, and Robert J. Wittman.
On December 17, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit lifted the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for large employers. The Department of Labor has stated it will begin enforcing the ETS on January 10, 2022. The Department will also give employers acting in good faith until February 9, 2022 before it will begin issuing citations for violations of the mandate’s testing requirements.
Several parties have filed petitions for review, and SCOTUS is set to hear oral arguments on January 7, 2022, on whether to issue an emergency stay of the ETS.