On Friday morning, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on major rules from Joe Biden’s White House that are meant to increase America’s COVID-19 jab rate.
The Associated Press reported that the Supreme Court justices are deciding whether or not to allow Biden to enforce a vaccine-or-testing requirement that applies to large employers and a separate COVID-19 jab mandate for most health care workers.
Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts have already expressed skepticism with the employer rule, with the latter saying that it is “hard to argue” that officials had been given the power to act by Congress. Rightwing Justice Amy Coney Barrett also pointed out that one big issue is that the rule is too broad.
Unsurprisingly, the three liberal justices quickly indicated that they support the employer rule. Justice Elena Kagan argued that officials have shown “quite clearly that no other policy will prevent sickness and death to anywhere like the degree that this one will.” At the same time, Justice Stephen Breyer said that he found it “unbelievable” that it could be in the “public interest” to put that rule on hold. This came one day after he said that there were around 750,000 new cases in the country and that hospitals are full.
The stakes could not be higher, as this ruling from the Supreme Court will determine the fate of COVID-19 jab requirements for more than 80 million people.
“I think effectively what is at stake is whether these mandates are going to go into effect at all,” said Sean Marotta, a Washington lawyer whose clients include the American Hospital Association.
Those who are challenging this argue that COVID-19 jab rules exceed the administration’s authority. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, the administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, responded to these concerns by saying that both rules are necessary to stop further hospitalizations and deaths. She added that keeping the COVID-19 jab mandate for health care workers on hold “will likely result in hundreds or thousands of deaths and serious illnesses from COVID-19 that could otherwise be prevented.”
Andy Slavitt, a former adviser to the Biden administration on COVID-19, claimed that these COVID-19 jab requirements are extremely effective for 15% to 20% of Americans “who don’t like to get a shot, but they will and don’t have any strenuous objection.”
However, opponents have warned that these rules will only lead to labor shortages.
“People are going to quit. It will make a bad situation worse, and they’re not going to come back,” said Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Legal Center.
It remains to be seen how this will play out.
Red Voice Media would like to make a point of clarification on why we do not refer to any shot related to COVID-19 as a "vaccine." According to the CDC, the definition of a vaccine necessitates that said vaccine have a lasting effect of at least one year in preventing the contraction of the virus or disease it's intended to fight. Because all of the COVID-19 shots thus far available have barely offered six months of protection, and even then not absolute, Red Voice Media has made the decision hereafter to no longer refer to the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson substances as vaccinations.