Biden Vaccine Mandate: Supreme Court to Weigh Business / Health Care Policies

by Clayton Edwards

Back in September, President Biden announced that he would roll out mandatory vaccines for several Americans. Those in larger companies, as well as healthcare workers, fell under his proposed vaccine mandate. Then, in November he issued the rules. Almost immediately Republican-led states and private businesses filed lawsuits in attempts to combat those rules. They argued that the Biden administration had overstepped its boundaries and was infringing on the freedoms of the American People.

As a result, legal battles over the vaccine mandates came before the Supreme Court. They came through emergency requests last month, according to CBS News. This led the Supreme Court to quickly schedule oral arguments over the mandates. They hope to clarify the legal status of these mandates on Friday.

OSHA Prepares to Enforce Vaccine Mandate

Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found itself at the center of legal battles. They plan to enforce vaccine mandates for employers. This mandate states that all companies that employ 100 or more workers must require employees to get the COVID vaccine. Alternately, employees could wear masks and test weekly. OSHA claims that the mandate would save thousands of lives and was able to successfully argue that in front of a three-judge panel on the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

The vaccine or test mandate went into effect earlier this month. However, OSHA will not start issuing citations until February as long as employers are working toward compliance.

27 Republican-led states as well as the National Federation of Independent Business, and other organizations asked the Supreme Court to step in. They hoped that the Nation’s highest court could block OSHA’s ruling.

However, while many see the vaccine mandate as an infringement on the freedom of the people, the Justice Department disagrees. They argued that OSHA is acting well within its authority under federal law.

Vaccines for Healthcare Workers

The Supreme Court will also hear arguments surrounding a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires workers at facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid to be vaccinated. Unlike the mandate that OSHA is arguing for, this one does not include a testing option. The CMS demanded that all employees covered by the requirement get their first shot no later than December 6th and be fully vaccinated by the 4th of January. However, they do offer medical and religious exemptions.

Several states challenged this vaccine mandate. 24 of those states blocked it altogether. The Justice Department called on the Supreme Court to step in where the mandate has been stalled.

These decisions from the Supreme Court will shape the future of America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is entering its third year as the Omicron variant sweeps the nation.