OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
Tucker Carlson said that Justice Brett Kavanaugh is a “cringing little liberal” on his Fox News show.
On his show on Thursday, he commented on the high court’s rulings on President Biden’s COVID-19 directives. Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh joined Chief Justice John Roberts and the other three liberals in upholding the requirement that medical facilities accept Medicare or Medicaid payments.
According to conservative attorney Harmeet Dhillon who was on Tucker’s show, it is an “unfortunate” ruling “given the massive shortage that we have of healthcare workers right now in our hospitals.”
Tucker broke in and said, “With no help from Brett Kavanaugh, I notice. Cringing little liberal.” He then jokingly quipped that he would not have Dhillon respond to his statement before switching to the question of whether democracy still exists or not.
On Thursday, a majority-conservative Supreme Court blocked Biden’s vaccination-or-test requirements for private large companies.
Despite this, the high court did allow a vaccine mandate to go into effect for employees working in health care facilities receiving federal funds.
The conservative majority of the court ruled 6-3 that the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to make the rule binding on large US companies.
It would have affected approximately 84 million people.
Justice Roberts and Kavanaugh joined with liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer to rule in favor of the mandate on healthcare workers in Medicare and Medicaid-funded settings, resulting in a 5-4 decision.
In September, Biden announced sweeping measures to get more Americans vaccinated following the drop in the rate of vaccinations over the summer as the Delta variant brought a new wave of infections. If implemented, they would have affected a combined one-third of the US workforce.
OSHA, the federal agency with responsibility for ensuring public and private workplace safety, released details for private sector workplace safety rules in response to the president’s order.
In the 6-3 majority opinion, the conservative justices claim the rule ‘draws no distinctions based on industry or risk of exposure to COVID–19.’
Currently, the 9 members of the supreme court consists of only three liberal justices, with Kavanaugh, Barrett, and Gorsuch all appointed by the former White House president, Donald Trump.
Barrett and Kavanaugh asked Elizabeth Prelogar, the administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, tough questions.
The court heard testimony from Republican states and business leaders who say Biden’s mandate about businesses with over 100 employees overstepped federal authority.
There was support for the employer rule by three liberal justices. According to Elena Kagan, officials have demonstrated ‘quite clearly that no other policy will prevent sickness and death to anywhere like the degree that this one will.’
Breyer said he was unable to accept that it was in the ‘public interest’ to put that rule on hold. He cited the 750,000 new COVID cases this week that had hospitals busting at the seams.
Nevertheless, Roberts asked Prelogar if Occupational Safety and Health Administration was empowered to introduce the mandate under the 1970 law that established it.
‘That was 50 years ago that you’re saying Congress acted. I don’t think it had COVID in mind.
‘That was almost closer to the Spanish flu than it is to today’s problem,’ he said in reference to the 1918 pandemic.
‘This is something the federal government has never done before,’ Roberts added, casting doubt on the administration’s argument that a half-century-established law, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, confers such broad authority.
As the nation is gripped by the latest wave of infections, triggered by the highly contagious Omicron variant, the court heard arguments.
As the Ohio solicitor general, Benjamin Flowers, asserted that the mandates were formulated when another, more dangerous variant – Delta – was the most prevalent in the state.
In a statement, Justice Sonia Sotamayor took issue with his way of explaining the pandemic.
‘We have more affected people in the country today than we had a year ago in January,’ she said.
‘We have hospitals that are almost at full capacity with people severely ill on ventilators.
‘We have over 100,000 children which we’ve never had before, in serious condition. And many on ventilators.’
In addition to hearing arguments for more than two hours, the justices also heard arguments on whether to block the administration’s vaccine requirement for healthcare facilities.
As the lower courts continue to hear cases, the justices have been asked to order an emergency block.
Friday was a clear example of the impact of the pandemic. There was a court hearing held in a building that has been closed to the public for almost two years and two lawyers tested positive for COVID-19 and had to deliver their arguments remotely.
Flowers delivered his argument by telephone, according to the Ohio attorney general’s office.
‘Ben who is vaccinated and boosted, tested positive for COVID-19 after Christmas. His symptoms were exceptionally mild and he has since fully recovered,’ according to the statement from Reuters.
‘The Court required a PCR test yesterday which detected the virus so for that reason he is arguing remotely.’
In addition, the Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill was expected to present her argument remotely ‘in accordance with COVID protocols,’ according to her office.
Sotomayor sat in on the hearing from her chambers. She has suffered from diabetes since childhood.
By ensuring people are protected from the worst effects of the pandemic, the White House says these mandates will save thousands of lives and strengthen the economy.
However, opponents say the federal government has imposed requirements not authorized by Congress and has exceeded its powers.