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Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Challenges to Select Biden Vaccination Mandates

Posted on December 23, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will hear oral arguments on the following two vaccination mandates:

  1. The OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard requiring private employers with 100 or more employees to institute a mandatory vaccinate or test policy, and
  2. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Interim Final Rule requiring vaccines for health care workers at facilities that receive federal funding, such as through Medicare.

The Supreme Court was already considering several appeals about those requirements on an emergency basis, which rarely involve oral arguments, but the court announced it would take a more formal approach to the cases and scheduled arguments for January 7th.

The arguments were scheduled after Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh were asked to intervene in lower court disputes over the mandates. Kavanaugh had been asked by challengers to the employer mandate to reverse an appeals court ruling that said the administration could enforce its vaccine-or-testing rules for large companies. Kavanaugh and Alito had separately been asked by the Justice Department to reverse appeals court orders against the health care worker requirement, which applies to health care staff at providers that participate in Medicare and Medicaid.

OSHA has stated that it would not take any enforcement steps before January 10th, and that it did not intend to issue citations for failing to comply with the testing requirements before February 9th as long as employers are acting in good faith to put the rules into effect. The separate federal rule requiring vaccinations for health care workers who treat Medicare and Medicaid patients remains in effect in half the country. Two federal appeals courts blocked its enforcement in a total of 24 states, but it remains in effect in the other 26, including Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court left that in place until January's argument. It is unclear at this time whether this mandate will be enforced before the Supreme Court resolves the issue.

The third Biden vaccination requirement for federal contractors is on hold nationwide, as it was blocked by order of a federal judge in Georgia.

If you have questions about this update or other related issues, please contact your Knox Law attorney or call us at 814-459-2800.

For more information, please contact Sarah Holland.