As explained in greater detail by our colleague Stuart M. Gerson, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two major, and quickly decided, rulings on January 13, 2022. After hearing oral arguments only six days earlier, the Court issued two unsigned decisions per curiam. A 5-4 decision in Biden v. Missouri dissolved a preliminary injunction against enforcement of an interim final rule (“Rule”) promulgated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), requiring recipients of federal Medicare and Medicaid funding to ensure that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.
But the Biden administration’s effort to promote universal vaccination with a more sweeping rule—an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and directed at all U.S. employers with at least 100 employees—was blocked by the high court. A 6-3 decision reversed the action taken by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in December, and reimposed a stay of the ETS, meaning that OSHA may not enforce the mandate pending the outcome of further litigation.
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