The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Friday over the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private employers during which several justices made repeated false claims about COVID-19 and the effectiveness of the jab.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rolled out its emergency temporary standard demanding that private employers with 100 or more employees require vaccinations at the request of the Biden administration late last year. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay, however, preventing enforcement.
Challengers of the OSHA standard argued on Friday that the agency has no right to force a medical decision on workers, but several justices pushed back on this idea using false narratives about COVID-19 to justify the federal government’s vaccine mandate.
Justice Elena Kagan suggested that getting the vaccine reduces the spread of COVID-19, a dubious claim that’s contested by the rapidly rising number of breakthrough cases worldwide. Kagan’s opinion is that “this is the policy that is most geared to stopping all this.”
“There’s nothing else that will perform that function better than incentivizing people strongly to vaccinate themselves. So, you know, whatever necessary means, whatever grave means, why isn’t this necessary and grave?” Kagan said.
“We do not contest that COVID is a grave danger,” Scott Keller, attorney for the National Federation of Independent Business, retorted. “But when the power for it to be necessary… an agency has to consider and explain alternatives.”
Justice Stephen Breyer echoed Kagan’s sentiment that the COVID-19 vaccine would prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace. He said that the challengers’ argument that hundreds of thousands of people would quit the workforce over forced vaccination, hurting the already struggling U.S economy, is moot because “more may quit when they discover they have to work together with unvaccinated others because that means they may get the disease.”
“And more will quit because they’ll maybe die, or maybe they will be in the hospital, or maybe they’ll be sick and have to stay home for two weeks,” Breyer said, before suggesting that a vaccine mandate would eliminate COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has admitted that the jab doesn’t prevent COVID transmission, but that didn’t stop the justices from continuing to claim that vaccines would stop the spread of the virus.
Breyer also repeatedly used rising COVID-19 case numbers, due to the number of breakthrough cases after the omicron variant surfaced, to justify keeping OSHA’s mandate around. In fact, Breyer claimed there were “750 million new cases yesterday,” despite the U.S. population being less than half that number.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor communicated a similarly false premise in her line of questioning.
“Catching COVID keeps people out of the workplace for extraordinary periods of time,” she said.
Later she claimed that “those numbers show that omicron is as deadly and causes as much serious disease in the unvaccinated as delta did,” despite studies showing that the newest variant appears to affect people way less severely.
Justice Clarence Thomas was the first justice to oppose the others’ lies on COVID-19.
“There’s been some talk suggestion, or at least it seems to be implied, that the vaccinations are efficacious and preventing some degree of infection to others,” Thomas said, noting that younger people are at lower risk of injury and death from contracting COVID-19.
In response to Thomas, Benjamin Flowers, Ohio’s solicitor general who was challenging the OSHA rule, was the first legal counsel to address the lies that the other justices spewed for more than an hour.
“Vaccines do not appear to be very effective in stopping the spread of transmission,” Flowers said. “They are very effective in stopping severe consequences, and that’s why our states strongly urge people to get [them], but I think that makes it very hard to look at the numbers they give and assume they still apply today.”
The examples, data, and facts did not quell the falsities coming from the left-leaning justices such as Sotomayor, who went on to claim that COVID-19 is a “grave risk” for “people of all ages and conditions” and that unvaccinated people have potential to hurt themselves and others, including the vaccinated.
She, along with Breyer, also bizarrely claimed that “hospitals are almost all full capacity,” which is not true, and lied that more than 100,000 children are hospitalized with COVID and on ventilators.