Updated Dec 22, 2021 - Health

Supreme Court schedules Jan. 7 oral arguments on Biden's vaccine mandates

Photo of Joe Biden sitting

President Biden during a meeting at the White House on Dec. 22. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will hold oral arguments on Jan. 7 to consider legal challenges to President Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers and large companies.

Why it matters: The mandates have faced a series of lawsuits from Republican-led states, businesses and religious coalitions.

The requirements: Private companies with at least 100 employees must ensure that their workers are either fully vaccinated or tested weekly.

  • All health care workers at federally funded facilities must also get vaccinated.
  • The deadlines for both mandates to take effect have been pushed back several times, in part because of the legal proceedings.

Worth noting: The Supreme Court has thus far generally declined to block challenges to individual states' vaccine mandates.

What they're saying: White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Wednesday night that "especially as the U.S. faces the highly transmissible Omicron variant, it is critical to protect workers with vaccination requirements and testing protocols that are urgently needed."

  • The Biden administration was "confident in the legal authority for both policies and the [Justice Department] will vigorously defend both at the Supreme Court," Psaki added.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Go deeper