(CNN) The Supreme Court said Wednesday it is scheduling oral arguments for January 7 in the cases challenging the Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccine requirements for large employers and certain health care workers.
The arguments were scheduled after Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh were asked to intervene in lower court disputes over the mandates.
Kavanaugh had been asked by challengers to the employer mandate to reverse an appeals court ruling that said the administration could enforce its vaccine-or-testing rules for large companies.
Kavanaugh and Alito had separately been asked by the Justice Department to reverse appeals court orders against the health care worker requirement, which applies to health care staff at providers that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The appeals court orders have left the mandate frozen in about half the country.
For now, the court is leaving in place the status quo around the requirements. The Biden administration has said it will not begin enforcing the employer mandate until January 10, and the government has said it’s not implementing the health care worker mandate while the legal challenges play out.
The White House said Wednesday that it is “confident in the legal authority for both policies.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement:
“Especially 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,”
“At a critical moment for the nation’s health, the OSHA vaccination or testing rule ensures that employers are protecting their employees and the CMS health care vaccination requirement ensures that providers are protecting their patients.
“We are confident in the legal authority for both policies and DOJ will vigorously defend both at the Supreme Court.”
The court’s rare move to bypass the normal process and to hear oral arguments now comes as the coronavirus pandemic rages globally and the Omicron variant takes hold … read more.