Friday, January 14, 2022

State leaders react to SCOTUS blocking vaccine mandate for private businesses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's blocking of the Biden vaccine mandate for businesses of 100 or more employees, many Oklahoma elected officials have weighed in with their reactions. 

Below are press release from Attorney General John O'Connor, Governor Kevin Stitt, U.S. Senator James Lankford, U.S. Representatives Kevin Hern and Frank Lucas, State Senate President Greg Treat, and State Rep. Sean Roberts:

Attorney General O'Connor Responds to Supreme Court Decision Regarding OSHA and CMS Vaccine Mandates

"The State of Oklahoma is pleased the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the states challenging the OSHA vaccine mandate on private businesses. Now, individuals who work in the private sector can make healthcare decisions for themselves and their families – as it should be. This is a major win for job creators and their employees.

"However, we are disappointed with the Court’s decision to allow the enforcement of the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The State of Oklahoma is already suffering from healthcare staffing shortages and the CMS vaccine mandate will only make matters worse, especially in rural Oklahoma. Not only does the CMS mandate threaten the healthcare interests of countless Americans, but it also puts state funding at risk. My office will continue to fight for the rights of Oklahomans and defend the rule of law against the Biden Administration’s heavy-handed tactics," said Attorney General John O'Connor.


OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 13, 2022) — Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court issued rulings blocking President Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses and upholding the mandate for health care workers:

“The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down President Biden’s unlawful vaccine mandates for businesses is an important victory for the individual freedom of Oklahomans and every citizen of this great nation. I applaud Attorney General John O’Connor who has been tirelessly fighting back against the Biden administration’s dangerous federal overreach. I am also grateful to my Republican colleagues in the Legislature who have been allies in this fight. Our alignment is critical, and I am grateful for their efforts.

“From the beginning I have maintained that the vaccine should be a personal choice. While I am pleased with the Court’s decision regarding businesses, I am disappointed in its decision to even temporarily uphold the CMS vaccine mandate. No American should lose their job over a vaccine, especially our brave health care workers who have been on the front lines of this pandemic. Today’s ruling will not only affect them, but it will also hurt our hospitals’ ability to care for patients during a nationwide staffing shortage. Nevertheless, my administration will continue to stand up for individual freedom for all Oklahomans.”

Senate Pro Tem Treat comments on Supreme Court ruling on vaccine mandate for large businesses

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, commented Thursday on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling rejecting the Biden administration’s vaccine and testing mandate for large employers.

“Although vaccines are safe and effective, the decision to get a vaccine should remain up to individuals to decide. The Supreme Court was right to reject the Biden administration’s vaccine and testing mandate for large businesses. It clearly was a case of federal overreach. After this court win, I am more confident that the decision the state Senate made to put $10 million in funding toward the Attorney General’s Office was the right move to fight federal overreach. We remain committed to resourcing the Attorney General’s Office to defend the rights of Oklahomans,” Treat said.

Lankford Applauds Supreme Court Decision to Stop Biden’s Vaccine Mandate on Private Businesses

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued a statement after the Supreme Court issued a decision following an emergency hearing on whether a stay on vaccine mandates impacting private businesses should remain in place:

“This is a big day for every Oklahoman and American who has lived in fear of having to choose between their health decisions or keeping their job. Today’s ruling states what every Oklahoman has known for months—President Biden does not have the authority to reach into every private business to say who should be hired and who should be fired. We are the United States of America. We do still believe in individual freedom, and today, the Supreme Court affirmed that constitutional right for every American.”

Lankford, along with 46 of his Republican Senate Colleagues and 136 of Republican members of the House of Representatives filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court  that argues that Congress did not give the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the authority to impose a vaccine mandate and urges the Supreme Court to stay the mandate. 


  • On December 17, 2021, the US 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 Emergency Temporary Standard (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.
  • The Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas have all issued stays that apply to 25 states including Oklahoma, for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccine mandates that impacts nearly all health care workers. For the 25 states that are not under this stay, CMS is currently set to enforce the mandate on February 28, 2022. 

Hern applauds SCOTUS decision on Biden’s small business mandate

WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) released the following statement in support of today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the stay on Biden’s vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 employees.

“Thanks to the careful consideration of the Supreme Court, this long national nightmare is hopefully coming to an end,” said Rep. Hern. “I made my thoughts clear last fall when the mandate was announced: this unprecedented move from the White House is dangerous and unconstitutional. I’ve worked every day to support the lawsuits and efforts to combat this mandate in the legal system. Thankfully, the Supreme Court ruled in support of my position. The federal government should never be in the business of telling job creators who they can and can’t employ based on vaccination status.”

Lucas Applauds Supreme Court Decision Blocking Biden's Vaccine Mandate on Private Businesses

Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) today released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate on private businesses:

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling affirms what every Oklahoman has believed for months and what I’ve told my neighbors since the President’s executive order was drafted, President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate on private businesses was an egregious act of federal overreach. President Biden’s unconstitutional OSHA vaccine mandate was the last thing Main Street job creators and workers needed as America recovers from the economic effects of COVID, and now Oklahomans who work in the private sector will be able to make health care decisions for themselves,” said Congressman Lucas. “Just as I have done for the last two years, as our country has battled COVID-19, I continue to be a strong advocate of following the science and taking the necessary precautions- including encouraging my fellow Oklahomans to get vaccinated and boosted.”

Roberts Comments on Supreme Court Ruling

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, issued the following statement regarding a Supreme Court ruling on COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private employers and healthcare workers announced earlier today:

"I am pleased that today the Supreme Court has made the right decision in striking down the Biden Administration's policy of forcing over 84 million Americans in private businesses to vaccinate against COVID-19. Federal government agencies have no constitutionally given right to force American businesses to test or vaccinate their employees.

However, today the Supreme Court has also ruled that COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandates in healthcare facilities should be allowed. This ruling is disastrous and downright dangerous for rural Oklahomans. These mandates have already forced hundreds of Oklahoma healthcare heroes out of a career that they love. Many of these heroes lost their jobs and their livelihood. Now, Oklahoma healthcare facilities have increased costs from hiring travel or agency nurses because of staffing shortages. This is putting Oklahomans' health at risk and is unacceptable.

In July of last year, 19 of my House colleagues and I sent a letter to Governor Stitt requesting he either draft an executive order or call a special session to stop vaccine mandates in healthcare facilities. That did not happen, so in this session, the legislature must take action to end medical tyranny and help us secure and protect our most basic human rights and civil liberties."


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