Supreme Court to hold special session on vaccine requirements

Published: December 22, 2021 8:12 PM EST
FILE - The Supreme Court is seen at dusk in Washington on Oct. 22, 2021. The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from Devon Archer, a former business partner of presidential son Hunter Biden, who was seeking to overturn his criminal conviction for securities fraud. As is typical the justices did not comment in leaving a federal appeals court ruling that reinstated the fraud conviction. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

The Supreme Court says it will hold a special session in just over two weeks to hear arguments on the Biden administration’s vaccine or testing requirement for large employers and a separate vaccine requirement for healthcare workers. This announcement comes amid rising coronavirus cases.

The high court announced late Wednesday that it would hear arguments in the cases on Jan. 7. The court had not been scheduled to hear cases again until Jan. 10.

On Friday, an appellate panel ruled that the vaccine or testing regime for workers at larger companies could take effect. The plan requires workers at larger companies to be vaccinated or wear face masks and get tested weekly. The requirement could affect some 84 million U.S workers. The court will have to grapple with whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has the authority to impose such a requirement. The requirement had been scheduled to take effect on Jan. 4.

The court also will hear arguments over a rule published Nov. 5 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid that applies to a wide range of health care providers that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding. It requires their workers to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6 and be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. It was projected to affect more than 17 million workers in about 76,000 health care facilities as well as home health care providers. Decisions by lower courts have the mandate blocked in about half of states.