SCOTUS, Sinema to Biden’s Agenda: Drop Dead

The Supreme Court and Senator Kyrsten Sinema dealt fatal blows to two Biden Administration priorities Thursday.


Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) took to the Senate floor Thursday to reiterate her opposition to blowing up the filibuster, dooming Biden’s “voting rights” legislation. A few hours later, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses.

  • Sinema and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) reaffirmed their opposition to partisan changes to the filibuster, while emphasizing that they supported the underlying legislation.
  • The bills – the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act – are now dead on arrival in the Senate. Even the most moderate Republican Senators like Mitt Romney and Susan Collins are staunchly opposed to both bills.
  • The Supreme Court stopped Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses with a 6-3 vote. The six conservative justices concluded that OSHA’s rule was executive branch overreach.
  • The three liberals dissented, arguing that the court should not overrule unelected health experts.
  • The justices did allow Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers to go forward on a 5-4 vote. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh, along with the three liberals, formed the majority.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Politico explains Biden’s swing-and-a-miss on the filibuster, and how the White House had such trouble understanding “no means no.”
  • Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post wrote a piece mocking Kyrsten Sinema’s pleas for politicians to listen more to the opposition and calls for bipartisanship. That’ll show her!
  • In a piece of brilliant legal analysis, Slate argues the Supreme Court just made up its reasoning behind blocking Biden’s vaccine mandate. According to Slate, SCOTUS had no legal reason at all to block a sweeping rule affecting 84 million Americans enacted under an obscure regulation that has never actually been successfully implemented. Seems legit.



  • The New York Post reported on Biden’s “fruitless trip” to Capitol Hill to persuade Senate Democrats to blow up the filibuster. The Post observed that this was the fourth time Biden has visited Capitol Hill to push his agenda and left empty-handed.
  • National Review’s Dan McLaughlin reviews the two Supreme Court decisions and explains how the Supreme Court came to two different conclusions on two different vaccine mandates.
  • The Dispatch’s legal podcast, Advisory Opinions, released an “emergency pod” after the Supreme Court decision with invaluable insights into the Supreme Court arguments. The podcast’s host, Sarah Isgur, is married to the attorney for the plaintiffs in the business vaccine mandate case.

Author’s Take

President Joe Biden has had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. Inflation pace hit a 40 year high. Omicron cases are still surging. Vice President Harris is doing her best Selina Meyer impression in major interviews. Russia is threatening Ukraine. The latest Quinnipiac poll found Biden with a 33 percent approval rating (not a typo). And just Thursday: the filibuster push is dead, “voting rights” legislation is dead, and the business vaccine mandate is dead.

If you’ve been reading Spangld, neither Biden’s “voting rights” agenda crashing like the Hindenburg nor the Supreme Court’s ruling on the business vaccine mandate should come as a surprise. Democrats kept insisting they didn’t know where Manchin and Sinema stood, but they’ve been perfectly clear. Nevertheless, Biden and Schumer persisted.

Well, reality crashed through the wall like the Kool-Aid Man yesterday in the form of the Senior Senator from Arizona. Sinema’s speech came immediately before Biden spoke to Senate Democrats, and Manchin’s statement putting the final nail in the coffin was released as soon as Biden left. Their message was crystal clear. Will Biden listen?

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© Dominic Moore, 2022