by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
While President Joe Biden has pursued a number of actions that have contributed to his plummeting popularity, federal courts have so far stopped him from moving ahead with several more that could make his political situation even worse.
From immigration to pandemic policies, judges have repeatedly halted Biden’s attempts to use executive authority.
Liberals have pushed Biden to continue sidestepping Congress with executive orders that ram through elements of his agenda, however. Many have in recent days stepped up pressure on Biden to cancel student debt, for example, despite the dubious legal authority Biden has to do so.
His average approval rating is nearly 12 points underwater, with roughly 53% of voters disapproving of his performance in office, according to the RealClearPolitics average.
Yet without the intervention of federal courts on a number of key issues, Biden could be facing an even grimmer political outlook heading into a midterm election in which Democrats are expected to suffer massive defeats.
The Biden administration spent weeks defending an effort to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on every business with 100 employees or more.
Biden and his aides argued the mandate was necessary to stop the spread of the virus despite pushback from several different industries under individual vaccine mandates, such as those applying at the city level.
The administration’s political case for imposing the mandate was severely weakened by the spike in cases driven by the omicron variant, which began late last year and seemingly peaked around the holidays. As the highly contagious variant caused millions of infections even among the vaccinated and those who followed mitigation guidelines, political support for COVID-19 mandates began to fall.
Although the Biden administration seemed poised to push for its employer vaccine mandate anyway, the Supreme Court ruled in January that the Department of Labor, which was tasked with enforcing the rule, did not have the authority to issue such a sweeping public health order.