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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.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.
Kate Marino, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views of their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of canceled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.