The fate of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates could soon be forged as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to take up the controversial decrees.
The nation’s high court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on January 7 regarding legal challenges to the Biden administration’s private employer and health care worker COVID-19 vaccine rules.
Thousands of Americans are expected to descend upon the nation’s capital in late January to protest the administration’s vaccine edicts. The effort has been dubbed “Defeat the Mandates — an American Homecoming.” The movement’s organizers assert that the effort was organized by a diverse group of Americans who fear their jobs could be at risk should Biden’s vaccine mandates become implemented.
The protesters’ sentiments mirror those held by a large share of Alabamians. A poll conducted in October showed that nearly 65% of the state’s citizenry was opposed to mandated COVID-19 vaccination.
In its efforts to shield the citizenry from the Biden mandates, the State of Alabama adopted both legal and legislative strategies to combat what it considers to be executive overreach.
In late October, Gov. Kay Ivey issued an executive order which directed all entities under the authority of the state’s executive branch to coordinate with the Alabama Attorney General’s office to support vaccine mandate-related litigation that the state would bring against the federal government.
Just days after the governor issued her executive order, Attorney General Steve Marshall filed suit on behalf of the state to block the Biden administration’s federal contractor COVID-19 vaccine mandate. According to Marshall, the rule is not presently enforceable as Alabama recently emerged victorious in achieving a nationwide injunction against the decree.
Nearly a week after the first lawsuit was filed, Marshall issued a legal challenge against Biden’s private employer vaccine edict. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule requires employers with 100 or more employees to force vaccination upon its workers or subject them to weekly virus testing.
Additionally, the State of Alabama in mid-November filed a lawsuit to block the enforcement of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers.
As the high court nears its hearing date regarding the private employer and health care worker vaccine edicts, Marshall recently expressed optimism that the Supreme Court would rule that the administration overstepped its legal authority in issuing the mandates.
Alongside Alabama challenging Biden’s vaccine decrees in the judicial system, state lawmakers in early November opted to address the issue in a specially called session of the Alabama Legislature. While the special session was necessary to address the decennial redistricting process, lawmakers came to the conclusion that legislation was needed to solidify protections for those who could be adversely impacted by the mandates.
The supermajority Republicans enjoy in the legislature allowed for the passage of Senate Bill 9, authored by State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Daphne), which directed Alabama employers to “liberally construe” workers’ exemption requests from COVID-19 vaccination.
On the federal level, Republican members of Alabama’s congressional delegation have, through legislation or other means, attempted to block and defund the administration’s COVID-19 vaccination rules. However, such attempts have been to no avail as Democrats currently control both chambers of Congress and the White House.
The State of Alabama is seeking to score a major victory, along with a number of other Republican-led states, in defeating the Biden administration in what has been one of the most controversial political issues of 2021.
Many observers believe the Supreme Court’s current makeup to be favorable to opponents of the mandates as the bench’s conservative justices hold roughly a six to three conservative majority.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL