U.S. Supreme Court considers vaccine mandates

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., at dusk
Gary Blakeley via Shutterstock

The nation’s highest court heard more than three hours of oral arguments in person on Friday about the constitutionality of two federal vaccine mandates.

Lawyers representing businesses and roughly half of U.S. states asked for a hold on implementing President Joe Biden’s workplace and healthcare vaccine mandates. The mandate for healthcare providers who receive federal funding is scheduled to take effect on Monday.

The government asked the court to lift freezes on the regulations, which could affect roughly 80 million people in the U.S. 

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What did the justices say? Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts suggested the administration might be overstepping its authority by imposing vaccine mandates.

Amy Coney Barrett focused on procedural issues about implementing the rules and suggested the mandates were too broad, while Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer insisted the mandates will save lives and should not be delayed.

The court could issue a decision in the coming days or weeks. Because the court heard the arguments on an emergency basis, it could issue a brief ruling without a full opinion at any time.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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