The high court was scheduled to weigh in on the administration’s COVID-19 vaccine policies for the first time, although justices have turned away pleas to block state-level mandates before.
In October 2021, the Supreme Court upheld Indiana University’s vaccine mandate. It did the same for a mandate for health care workers in Maine, and then again for health care employees in New York.
The Supreme Court has not always supported the government’s actions during the pandemic, however. A ban in New York on in-person religious events was overturned, as was the federal government’s eviction moratorium.
On Friday, Supreme Court justices were to hear arguments on whether to allow the administration to enforce a vaccine-or-testing requirement applying to large employers, and a separate vaccine mandate for most health care workers. The arguments are expected to last at least two hours.
Legal challenges to the Biden administration’s policies from business groups and Republican-led states are in their early stages, but the outcome at the high court will probably determine the fate of vaccine requirements affecting more than 80 million people.
Both of Friday’s cases are coming to the court on an emergency basis. Unlike other cases the court hears, a decision from the justices could come in weeks, if not days.