The U.S. Supreme Court will officially be hearing oral arguments to the Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccine mandates on Jan. 7, the Justices announced Wednesday night.
The hearing will include two cases. The first is related to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) mandate requiring all businesses with over 100 employees to require vaccinations. The second is related to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule that threatens healthcare workers in the same regard.
What is particularly interesting about granting this emergency request is that oral arguments will be taking place right before OSHA’s vaccine mandate is supposed to take effect, which is starting Jan. 10, with additional fines and penalties for those that do not comply by Feb. 9. This could mean the court is planning to issue an expedited ruling ahead of the implementation date.
The OSHA mandate, which requires public and private employers with more than 100 employees to either be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or submit to weekly testing and mask-wearing, was lifted by the U.S. 6th District Court on Dec. 17.
This decision also comes shortly after several U.S. District courts ruled in favor of approving injunctions against vaccination mandates in several states, especially for public healthcare employees, including those working for Medicare and Medicaid. Earlier this month, another district court ruled a nationwide injunction while cases made their way up the ranks.
Although litigation remains ongoing, inoculation mandates have been halted in several Republican-led states by lower courts; according to SCOTUSblog, they have been temporarily blocked in at least 24 states so far.
Although the House still needs to take up their own votes on the matter, the U.S. Senate recently voted to repeal Biden’s vaccine mandate, especially for private businesses. Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia joined the bipartisan efforts to stop the enforcement of OSHA’s rule with private employers.
It appears that both in the legislative and the judicial branch, defiance of blanket inoculation mandates remains ongoing. Many opponents of the controversial and divisive rule argue that the Biden administration may be overstepping their granted authority, especially as vaccinations have been ineffective at stopping the spread of new Covid-19 variants such as Omicron.