On Jan. 7, the United States Supreme Court will listen to oral arguments in cases brought against President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine rules for large employers and healthcare workers.
The hearing will take place during a special session that day, where judges will decide whether Biden’s rules should be implemented or not, Bloomberg Law reported.
It would be a judgement on the amount of power the federal government can wield in fighting the pandemic, the outlet reported.
The cases being heard are National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, Ohio v. Department of Labor, Biden v. Missouri and Becerra v. Louisiana.
The major conflict in this legal battle would be over an emergency Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that demands that those who employ over 100 workers must get their employers vaccinated or take tests frequently.
Multiple business organizations and Republican states contend OSHA overstepped the authority Congress vested it with in its mandate. The plaintiffs also contend that the Biden administration does not have the constitutional authority to make such mandates.
“The goal of getting more Americans vaccinated does not allow the executive branch to use regulatory fiat to achieve a significant social, economic, and political change via the limited emergency power that Congress authorized,” 26 business organizations under the leadership of the National Federation of Independent Business contended, according to Bloomberg Law.
The Supreme Court decided to do the hearings after those challenging the employer mandate and the healthcare worker mandate approached Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, asking them to intervene in what had been disputes in lower courts, according to CNN.
The Biden Administration insisted Wednesday that it is “confident in the legal authority for both policies,” CNN reported.
“Especially as the U.S. faces the highly transmissible omicron variant, it is critical to protect workers with vaccination requirements and testing protocols that are urgently needed,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, according to the outlet.
“At a critical moment for the nation’s health, the OSHA vaccination or testing rule ensures that employers are protecting their employees, and the CMS health care vaccination requirement ensures that providers are protecting their patients. We are confident in the legal authority for both policies, and DOJ will vigorously defend both at the Supreme Court.”
The OSHA rule was supposed to go into effect on Jan. 4, Bloomberg Law reported. However, OSHA said it won’t commence with issuing citations until Jan. 10.
Previously, a federal appeals court based in Cincinnati ruled 2-1 in favor of the Biden administration’s rule
“The record establishes that Covid-19 has continued to spread, mutate, kill and block the safe return of American workers to their jobs,” Judge Jane B. Stranch wrote on behalf of the court, Bloomberg Law reported.
“To protect workers, OSHA can and must be able to respond to dangers as they evolve,” Stranch wrote.
The second rule being contended is the healthcare worker mandate.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, according to Bloomberg Law, requires that any facility that takes part in the Medicare and Medicaid health-care programs must get their employees vaccinated. This rule provides exemptions on medical and religious grounds.
“Delaying the rule would cause serious, tangible harm to public health,” the Biden administration claims.
“If the rule remains stayed during this winter’s anticipated Covid-19 surge, hundreds and potentially thousands of patients may die at hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid as the result of Covid-19 infections transmitted to them by staff.”
The Supreme Court’s decision to hold the hearings is a rare move bypassing regular procedure, CNN reported.
Bloomberg Law reported that this is the first time, possibly, in decades the Court will hear arguments on an application for a stay instead of resolving the request through written briefs.