Friday arrived with the Supreme Court listening to arguments regarding the United States government and whether or not it can enforce COVID-19 vaccine requirements among over 100 million workers in various fields across the country. Justices in the Supreme Court listened to arguments that were made for a little over three hours. Those who spoke in court talked about vaccines and how beneficial they are as well as some of the rules that have been put in place for testing for businesses that have over 100 employees. Arguments were also heard regarding mandates that could be imposed for healthcare workers who are employed by facilities that take Medicaid and Medicare since these are programs funded by the government.
In November, the government imposed policies pertaining to the enforcement of requiring businesses that have over 100 employees to have everyone vaccinated. However, that enforcement is now on hold until the Supreme Court makes a ruling. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch are two people who voiced their opinion that the government could be trying to overstep its boundaries. Officials likely haven’t been given the approval by Congress to act in the manner that they have, which is one of the reasons why the Supreme Court is now listening to arguments from both sides to determine what would be in the best interest of employees and businesses.
There has been no vaccine mandate of this kind that has been passed by Congress, making it difficult to enforce vaccine requirements.
The federal government hasn’t mandated something like this in the past according to Chief Justice John Roberts. Another person who voiced her concern over the issue is Justice Amy Coney Barrett. She suggested that the rules that are in place are broad and could be tightened. Justice Clarence Thomas offered that during a pandemic, the federal government could have more power than it normally would. Most of the justices on the opposite side of the court support vaccine mandates as they impact larger businesses with over 100 employees as well as businesses that accept Medicare and Medicaid.
The Biden administration is looking out for the people of the country and with the vaccine mandates for businesses and healthcare workers, the policy is one that could prevent more sickness from taking over the country according to the thoughts provided by Justice Elena Kagan. It was also argued in court that putting a vaccine mandate on hold is unbelievable, especially since there has been an increase in cases of the omicron variant. It’s possible that the court could issue a hold on the mandate until more information is heard. A final decision could be reached over the weekend or during the first half of the week as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is set to put into effect a mask mandate on January 7 and a testing mandate on February 9 for businesses with more than 100 employees.