SCOTUS hears oral arguments on Biden COVID-19 vaccine mandates

The fight over President Joe Biden’s sweeping federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, and during bombshell oral arguments, it became apparent that multiple justices on the liberal side of the panel were shockingly ill-informed about the current status of the pandemic.

During the morning’s session, the justices entertained arguments in separate cases relating to vaccine or testing requirements for private businesses with 100 or more employees, as well as a mandate for health care workers employed by facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds, as Fox News reported.

Through roughly three hours, 40 minutes of total arguments, the justices weighed the constitutionality of the Biden administration’s vaccine edicts, and in that span of time, a number of highly spurious claims about the mandates themselves, the present state of the virus, and the numbers of patients currently hospitalized with the illness.

In discussing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s rule requiring jabs for employees of large, private companies, Justice Sonia Sotomayor oddly contended that it did not amount to a mandate at all, despite the agency’s own language calling its Emergency Temporary Standard “requires covered employers to establish, implement, and enforce a written mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy… .”

As National Review noted, Sotomayor underscored the depth of her ignorance on the matter at hand by falsely asserting that 100,000 children are currently in the hospital and in “serious condition” with “many on ventilators,” despite the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the tally of pediatric hospitalizations now stands at just 3,342, with a significant portion of those viral diagnoses having been made incidentally to other concerns.

Adding to the sense that the left-leaning justices suffered from a serious misunderstanding of where things stand regarding the virus, Justice Elena Kagan proclaimed confidently that vaccines are “the best way” to stop the spread of COVID-19, with mask usage being the “second best way,” despite growing evidence casting serious doubt on both statements.

In the estimation of George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, the questions asked by the conservative justices on the court were heavily focused on whether an agency such as OSHA possesses sufficient statutory authority to implement this type of broad, overarching vaccine requirement across private industry, though they appeared more willing to accept the notion that the federal government does have the authority to issue such requirements for facilities it funds.

Indeed, consensus among numerous court watchers following oral arguments on Friday appeared to predict that the justices are likely to halt the OSHA mandate for large businesses, but allow the vaccination requirement for health care workers in facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid resources, in something of a split outcome.

Considering that certain aspects of the vaccine mandates begin taking effect as early as next week, the court will likely expedite its rulings and issue orders perhaps within a matter of days, and precisely how severe the fallout from those decisions will be, only time will tell.