Supreme Court set to rule on two challenges against federal vaccine mandates

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments this week in two cases involving challenges to the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

According to the Daily Caller, justices will consider the evidence presented on Friday before weighing in on mandates impacting health care workers and millions of private-sector employees.

Making the case against mandates

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its order in November, requiring vaccination or weekly testing for Americans working for companies with more than 100 employees.

That mandate, along with a similar requirement for workers at health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding, has received widespread opposition. Now, the battle has escalated to the nation’s highest court.

Initially, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay preventing the OSHA rule from going into effect while it was being litigated. A subsequent appeals panel ruling overturned that stay, prompting the involvement of the Supreme Court.

Among the arguments against the mandate is that OSHA is not authorized to enforce such a rule because Congress has not granted that authority as required by the Constitution.

Furthermore, the petitioners challenged the assertion that OSHA is acting in response to an emergency situation, essentially concluding that an emergency by definition does not extend two years into a pandemic.

“No foundation in this Court’s precedents”

For its part, the Biden administration maintains that the agency acted within its constitutional authority, further claiming that the mandate was justified by the “grave danger” posed to workers during the continuing pandemic.

As for the executive mandate requiring health care workers at many federally funded facilities to receive vaccinated or face termination, the president’s critics similarly say that the federal health agency lacks the authority to enforce such a requirement.

Once again, the White House defended the move in a statement opining that, in this situation, Congress was not required to grant authority to federal agencies.

“Respondents ask this Court to depart from ordinary principles of statutory interpretation by demanding a clear statement specifically authorizing a vaccination requirement,” the Biden administration wrote to the court. “That approach has no foundation in this Court’s precedents. This is not a case where an agency is acting outside its expertise or regulating in an area Congress has not authorized.”

It remains to be seen how a majority of justices will rule in either of these challenges, but it seems clear that the decision will have a major impact on the rights of individuals opposed to receiving the vaccine.

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