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SCOTUS 2022 pp 99–107Cite as

Palgrave Macmillan

Alabama Realtors, Biden v. Missouri, and NFIB v. OSHA on the Pandemic Regulations

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The Supreme Court was not the primary government actor charged with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, a duty which fell to elected officials in Washington DC, Governor’s mansions, and statehouses, as well as to expert civil servants in federal, state, and local executive branch agencies that focus on public health. But the Court’s exercise of judgment was still fundamental to the pandemic response.

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  1. 1.

    NFIB v. OSHA decision page 1 and Breyer dissent page 12.

  2. 2.

    Repeated in Alabama Realtors decision at 6, Biden v. Missouri Thomas dissent at 6, NFIB v. OSHA decision at 6, and Gorsuch concurrence at 2.

  3. 3.

    For contrasting views, see Philip Hamburger, Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (University of Chicago Press, 2014) and Jerry Mashaw, Creating the Administrative Constitution (Yale University Press, 2012).

  4. 4.

    Herschel Nachlis, “The FDA’s Evolving COVID-19 Emergency Use Authorizations,” Health Affairs Blog, 20 October 2020.

  5. 5.

    See Nina Totenberg, “Divisions at the U.S. Supreme Court Are Playing Out in Differences Among the Justices,” NPR, 18 January 2022.

  6. 6.

    Alabama Realtors decision at 2–3, quoting 42 U.S. Code §264(a).

  7. 7.

    Alabama Realtors June 29 order Kavanaugh concurrence at 1.

  8. 8.

    Alabama Realtors decision at 1 and 6.

  9. 9.

    Ibid. at 6, internal quotation marks omitted.

  10. 10.

    Ibid. at 8.

  11. 11.

    Biden v. Missouri decision at 5.

  12. 12.

    Ibid. at 5 and 6, quoting 42 U.S. Code §1395x(e)(9).

  13. 13.

    Biden v. Missouri Thomas dissent at 4, internal quotation marks omitted.

  14. 14.

    Biden v. Missouri Alito dissent at 2 and 3.

  15. 15.

    Biden v. Missouri Thomas dissent at 7.

  16. 16.

    Biden v. Missouri decision at 9.

  17. 17.

    NFIB v. OSHA decision at 9.

  18. 18.

    Ibid. at 5–8. For detailed discussions of the MQD and the “clear statement” rule, see Melnick’s Chapter 11, and on the related issue of Chevron deference, see A.K. Shauku’s Chapter 10.

  19. 19.

    See Keith E. Whittington and Jason Iuliano, “The Myth of the Nondelegation Doctrine” 165 University of Pennsylvania Law Review (2017).

  20. 20.

    NFIB v. OSHA Gorsuch concurrence at 5 and 6.

  21. 21.

    Biden v. Missouri decision page 7, Breyer dissent at 7.

  22. 22.

    Breyer dissent at 2, quoting 29 U.S. Code §651(b), (b)(5) and §655(c)(1), and 4.

  23. 23.

    Ibid. at 13–14, and 9.

  24. 24.

    On these transformations and the Court’s more deferential 2020–2021 pandemic decisions, see Herschel Nachlis, Kyle Thomson, Amy Park, and Annika Begley, “The Supreme Court Faces More Pandemic Questions This Term,” The Washington Post, 24 September 2021.

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Correspondence to Herschel Nachlis .

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Nachlis, H. (2023). Alabama Realtors, Biden v. Missouri, and NFIB v. OSHA on the Pandemic Regulations. In: Marietta, M. (eds) SCOTUS 2022. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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