Businesses with at least 100 employees will not have to comply with the Biden administration's COVID vaccine-or-test mandate, which was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. The court ruled that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had exceeded its authority in carrying out the emergency order.

According to CNBC, the Supreme Court's decision came three days after the OSHA's emergency order for private businesses with at least a hundred employees began to take effect. The order required private organizations to require their employees to get vaccinated against COVID or submit a negative COVID test every week to enter their workplaces. Unvaccinated workers would have been required to wear face masks indoors at work.

"Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly," the court ruled in an unsigned opinion. "Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category."

Not the Bee called it another episode among "plenty of embarrassing blows" to the Biden administration "in its efforts to force Americans to be injected with the COVID-19 vaccine." Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, all of whom are liberals, dissented to the decision.

Democratic President Joe Biden had expressed his disappointment that the Supreme Court struck down the vaccine mandate, saying that the judges had "chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law," NPR reported. Biden then called upon states and businesses to "protect Americans' health and economy."

Despite shooting down President Biden's vaccine mandate for employers, the Supreme Court has decided to uphold mandatory vaccinations for Medicare and Medicaid providers. In a 5 to 4 vote, the justices decided that unlike the emergency order for private entities, the vaccine mandate for health care employees was "justified as just the kind of detailed regulations that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has long imposed as a condition for health care providers getting federal funds."

The court also decided that the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers serves to protect patients from higher risks when they are in facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, ambulatory surgical care centers, and other healthcare institutions. In a separate unsigned opinion, the court said that the vaccine mandate for healthcare professionals is in line with "the fundamental principle of the medical profession: first, do no harm."

Justices who dissented to the decision were Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, who make up four of the six conservatives in the nine-seat bench. The decision to uphold the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers but reject one for private businesses comes as the U.S. records an average of 786,000 new COVID cases daily, a 37% increase over last week, as per data from Johns Hopkins University. COVID hospitalizations have also soared, reaching new heights compared to federal data dating back to the summer of 2020.

The Biden administration's vaccine-or-test mandate also faces a slew of lawsuits from 27 states with Republican attorneys general or governors, private businesses, religious groups and national industry associations, including the National Retail Federation, the American Trucking Associations and the National Federation of Independent Business.