On Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hold a special session in roughly two weeks to hear oral arguments regarding the Biden Administration’s ongoing efforts to force vaccinations on private employees, federal contractors, and healthcare workers, according to Politico.
The special session will begin on January 7th, 2022, just several days ahead of the regularly-scheduled session set to begin on January 10th.
The decision comes after several high-profile rulings that have produced mixed results with regards to the constitutionality of the vaccine mandates. Biden has ordered three different nationwide vaccine mandates: One demanding that all private businesses with 100 employees or more mandate vaccines for their employees, or else face federal penalties; one ordering all healthcare workers, especially those affiliated with Medicare and Medicaid, to get vaccinated; and one forcing all federal contractors to take the vaccine.
On Friday, the three judges of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled by a 2-1 margin in favor of Biden’s order forcing all private companies with 100 or more employees to get vaccinated. Such a mandate could impact as many as 84 million employees across the country.
Arguments against the vaccine mandate for private companies have focused on the question of whether or not the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which has been designated by Biden to oversee this mandate in particular, has the constitutional authority to do so without the approval of Congress. The OSHA mandate is set to go into effect on January 4th.
The mandate for healthcare workers currently remains blocked after rulings by the 5th and 8th Circuit Courts of Appeals, while the mandate for federal contractors was blocked by a U.S. District Court Judge in Georgia.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement urging the Supreme Court to find the vaccine mandates constitutional, claiming that “as the US faces the highly transmissible Omicron variant, it is critical to protect workers with vaccination requirements and testing protocols that are urgently needed.”
“We are confident in the legal authority for both policies and DOJ will vigorously defend both at the Supreme Court,” Psaki continued.
The Supreme Court deciding to convene a special session for any issue is rare, thus reflecting the severity of the ongoing battle over the legality of such far-reaching nationwide vaccine mandates. The Court’s regularly-scheduled docket already includes high-profile cases that are set to be decided next year, including Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a lawsuit originating in Mississippi that some say could lead to the overturning of legalized abortion as established in Roe v. Wade.