Jan 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Lawyers arguing against Biden vaccine mandates test positive for COVID

 A view of the U.S. Supreme Court on Capitol Hill on January 07, 2022 in Washington, DC

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Two state lawyers arguing against the Biden administration's vaccine mandates in front of the Supreme Court on Friday have tested positive for COVID and are presenting their cases remotely, state officials confirmed Friday.

Why it matters: It is the first time attorneys are arguing remotely in front of the court since in-person oral arguments returned in October, according to Bloomberg Law.

  • The two state lawyers, Ohio solicitor general Benjamin Flowers and Louisiana solicitor general Elizabeth Murrill, are arguing against the mandates over the phone.
  • Flowers is vaccinated and boosted and initially tested positive after Christmas, according to a statement from the Ohio attorney general's office. A PCR test taken Thursday detected the virus.
  • Murrill is arguing remotely "in accordance with the COVID protocols of the Court," the Louisiana attorney general's office said.

The big picture: The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on two of the Biden administration's flagship COVID policies, Axios' Emily Peck writes:

  • An emergency vaccinate-or-test rule issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that covers an estimated 80 million employees at large companies.
  • A vaccine mandate for health care workers at facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds.

Of note: Justice Sonia Sotomayor was also absent from the courtroom but participated remotely from her chambers, Bloomberg Law reports.

  • The other attorneys in the case argued in person, per Reuters.
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