TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor praised the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to reject the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for businesses on Thursday.
"Now, individuals who work in the private sector can make healthcare decisions for themselves and their families – as it should be," O'Connor said in a statement.
The State of Oklahoma filed multiple lawsuits against the federal government in response to President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate plans.
The Supreme Court upheld the mandate for healthcare workers on Thursday, ruling in Biden's favor.
"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," O'Connor said.
"Not only does the CMS mandate threaten the healthcare interests of countless Americans, but it also puts state funding at risk."
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt released a statement Thursday echoing O'Connor's opinion:
"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.”
Oklahoma is one of several states who challenged the mandates, including the requirements for National Guard members.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) joined his Republican colleagues in his support of Thursday's rejection:
“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.”
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