By DAN MCCALEB
THE CENTER SQUARE EXECUTIVE EDITOR
(The Center Square) — The U.S. Supreme Court early next month will hear challenges to two of President Joe Biden’s worker-related COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
The nation’s highest court agreed Wednesday to hear oral arguments Jan. 7 on the Biden administration’s separate executive branch mandates that most health care workers and those employed by private businesses with 100 workers or more be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, be tested regularly, or face losing their jobs.
Dozens of lawsuits were filed challenging the constitutionality of President Biden’s vaccine mandates, which he put in place without congressional approval.
The private sector mandate, which would impact more than 80 million workers in the U.S., initially was ordered halted by the the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which cited “grave” constitutional concerns over potential executive branch overreach.
After more than a dozen lawsuits against the mandate on private businesses were consolidated and sent to the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati, the Ohio-based federal court reinstated it last week. The reinstatement ruling was immediately appealed to the Supreme Court by multiple plaintiffs across the country.
President Biden also mandated that the employees of all healthcare companies that receive Medicaid and Medicare dollars be vaccinated against the coronavirus. This mandate affects more than 2 million American workers.
Conservative groups and free market advocates argue the president doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally make health care decisions for individual American citizens. The Biden administration has said it’s confident it does have that authority.
The mandates are set to take effect Jan. 4, three days before oral arguments in the cases.
Because of the timing of the effective date of the mandates, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision quickly.