The U.S. Supreme Court issued a split decision on President Biden's vaccine mandates Thursday.
The highest court in America ruled 6-3 against Biden's requirement that employees of large companies get vaccinated or test regularly and wear a mask while at work. However, the court is allowing a vaccine mandate to stand for most health care workers.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told CBN News the court got it right on the employer mandate because it was clearly unconstitutional.
"Even Biden in advance of this was saying it probably wasn't constitutional, so he did it anyway and which is kind of ridiculous," said Paul. "But no, I think this is really the court telling the president that there are limits to his powers."
The court made its decision based on constitutional merits. Justice Neil Gorsuch argued the vaccine mandate issue is a matter of who decides policy – the president's regulatory agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), or other branches of the government?
He wrote, "The answer is clear: under the law as it stands today, that power rests with the states and Congress, not OSHA."
In an unsigned opinion, conservative court justices argued that, "OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate, nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID–19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here."
In their dissenting opinion, the liberal justices – Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor – argued that the court itself, not the executive branch of government, was overreaching by substituting its judgment for that of health experts.
Republicans celebrated the ruling.
But President Biden said he was disappointed that the court blocked "common sense, life-saving requirements ... grounded squarely in both science and the law."
"This was a step that we announced and we had every intention of implementing because we knew it was the point that putting into place requirements in the workplace would help get more people vaccinated. The good news is that a number of companies have already decided to do that and do that successfully," explained White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
On a separate 5-4 vote, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the three liberal justices in allowing the vaccine mandate for health care workers to proceed.
It is applied to providers receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding and affects 10.4-million workers around the country.
Medical and religious exemptions are still allowed.
The president praised the court for that decision, saying it "will save lives."