The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up two cases challenging two of the federal government’s vaccine mandates – one of which requires companies with over 100 employees to force their workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine, or regularly test and mask at work.

On December 22, 2021, the Supreme Court announced it will hear arguments on January 7, 2022 over whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can lawfully mandate large employers to coerce their employees into receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. OSHA did this through the creation of an emergency temporary standard (ETS).

After the Sixth Circuit decided 2-1 on December 17, 2021 to allow OSHA to implement the ETS, numerous petitions were filed with the Supreme Court to stay (stop) the mandate from taking effect. The court has opted to delay a decision on those requests pending the newly scheduled argument on January 7.

The Supreme Court’s brief order is as follows:

“Consideration of the applications (21A244 and 21A247) for stay presented to Justice Kavanaugh and by him referred to the Court is deferred pending oral argument. The applications are consolidated, and a total of one hour is allotted for oral argument. The applications are set for oral argument on Friday, January 7, 2022.”

In her dissent from the Sixth Circuit’s decision on December 17, Judge Joan Larsen questioned whether OSHA has the power to implement the far-reaching mandate, since Congress hasn’t specifically delegated OSHA that power.

Congress must “speak clearly if it wishes to assign to an agency decisions of vast ‘economic and political significance.’ … And we should be skeptical when an agency suddenly discovers ‘in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate a significant portion of the American economy,’” Judge Larsen wrote. “OSHA has never issued an emergency standard of this scope.”

Should the Supreme Court uphold OSHA’s ETS, the livelihoods of 26 million unvaccinated employees working for large employers are on the line.

Additionally, the Supreme Court announced on December 22, 2021 that it will hear arguments over whether the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can require “hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid to ensure that their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19.”

The Daily Citizen will be watching these two cases closely and will keep you apprised of any developments.

The case (two petitions combined into one case) over OSHA’s vaccine mandate are National Federation of Independent Business, et al., Applicants v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al. and Ohio, et al., Applicants v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al.

The case (two petitions combined into one case) over the HHS mandate are Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al., Applicants v. Louisiana, et al. and Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the United States, et al., Applicants v. Missouri, et al.

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