Supreme Court to Hear Major Challenges to Biden’s Vax Mandates

Challengers say the admin. exceeds its authority in requiring Covid-19 vaccines or testing at large employers and mandating vaccines for health care workers.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The conservative-leaning Supreme Court will hear arguments on Friday regarding the legality of two measures central to Biden’s efforts to address Covid-19 in the workplace, The New York Times (NYT) reports.
  • The first measure is directed at businesses with 100 or more employees, and would impose a vaccine-or-testing mandate on more than 84 million workers.
  • The second would require workers at hospitals and other health care facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to be vaccinated, a requirement affecting more than 17 million workers, the administration said.
  • NYT notes that while the Supreme Court remains closed to the public, the justices will take the bench to hear the arguments in person and the court will provide a live audio feed on its website.
  • A ruling could come within days or weeks, The New York Post notes.
CHALLENGERS TO BIDEN’S MANDATES:
  • Primary challenges to Biden’s mandates are led by Republican officials, businesses, religious groups, and others, who argue Congress has not authorized the measures and that the measures are unnecessary and in some ways counterproductive, NYT notes.
  • Missouri’s Republican attorney general Eric Schmitt told Fox News, “The federal government is supposed to be one of limited powers. And forcing the vaccine on tens of millions of Americans isn’t one of them.”
  • “OSHA is in charge of making sure forklifts beep when they back up, not forcing these kinds of vaccinations,” Schmitt added.
BACKGROUND:
  • The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld state vaccine mandates in a variety of settings against constitutional challenges, although the cases before the court Friday are different because they question whether Congress has authorized the executive branch to institute the requirements, according to NYT.
  • The requirement for large employers to vaccinate or test was issued in November by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Religious groups including the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary are among those also challenging the policy in separate cases, Reuters reports.