The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled Friday to hear oral arguments against two of President Joe Biden’s administration’s COVID-19 vaccine policies issued by government agencies to combat the deadly coronavirus.
The policies “are critical to our nation’s COVID-19 response,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The mandates coming under review were issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The OSHA policy requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are either fully vaccinated or tested weekly. The CMS mandate for workers at health care facilities accepting federal Medicare and Medicaid funds requires workers to be fully vaccinated, with exemptions, including for sincerely held religious beliefs.
Republican-led states and an alliance of business and religious groups are challenging the policies’ broad sweep and the effects the mandates are having on companies and workers.
The policies have, however, been endorsed by the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association and a number of former federal health officials.
The challenge is being presented before the Supreme Court after a number of lower courts issued differing opinions on the policies.
COVID-19 has infected millions of people in the U.S. and killed more than 800,000.