South Dakota leaders react to Supreme Court ruling over vaccine mandates decision

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — The Supreme Court has stopped a major push by the Biden administration to boost the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rate, a requirement that employees at large businesses get a vaccine or test regularly and wear a mask on the job. At the same time, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S. The court’s orders Thursday during a spike in coronavirus cases was a mixed bag for the administration. The court’s conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees.

Here’s reactions from our South Dakota leaders over the ruling.

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – On Thursday, Governor Kristi Noem issued the following statement in response to the United States Supreme Court blocking the OSHA vaccine mandate:

“Our nation was built on freedom, on the belief that our rights come from God, not from government. Any infringement on our rights risks breaking the constitutional republic that we hold so dear.

“I am grateful that the Supreme Court has taken this important action to guarantee the rights of employees to make their own personal choice whether or not to get a COVID vaccine. I look forward to working with the legislature to pass protections for private employees, just like we have already done for state workers. And employers can rest assured that they will not lose valuable employees to President Biden’s unconstitutional OSHA mandate.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.(Press Release) — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) on Thursday released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to halt the Biden administration’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate on large private sector employers.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to halt the Biden administration’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate on large private sector employers is a win for South Dakota, our workforce, and our personal freedoms,” said Thune. “I’ve made it clear from the beginning that any type of vaccine mandate would have a countereffect on our country’s already stretched and strapped workforce, as well as set an alarming precedent. The federal government should not have the authority to force private citizens to get the vaccine. Today’s ruling sends a loud and clear message to the Biden administration: In this country, the unlawful use of the heavy hand of the federal government will not be tolerated.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.(Press Release)– Senator Mike Rounds tweeted the following statement:

Great news – the Supreme Court just blocked President Biden’s OSHA vaccine mandate on large employers. While I am a supporter of vaccines, forcing these mandates on private businesses is excessive federal overreach by the Biden administration.

WASHINGTON, D.C.(Press Release) – On Thursday, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) issued a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court decision to block President Biden’s vaccine mandate for large employers in the United States.

“Today’s decision is a win for federalism and individual freedoms,” said Johnson. “I believe in this vaccine, but I don’t believe in sweeping federal mandates – the Supreme Court made the right call. With more than 95% of Americans over the age of 65 at least partially vaccinated, our nation cannot handle the fallout that would come from overreaching actions of the federal government.”

Johnson cosponsored H.J. Res. 65 which nullifies the OSHA rule to require employers with more than 100 employees to receive a vaccine. Additionally, Johnson urged Speaker Pelosi to bring S.J. Res. 29 up for a vote following Senate passage. In December, Johnson hosted a roundtable with South Dakota businesses, highlighting concerns regarding workforce participation following vaccination mandates.