COVID-19 and the United States Supreme Court

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Last Friday (January 7, 2022), the United States Supreme Court (the “Court”) heard challenges to the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 rules for large employers and healthcare workers. The arguments lodged in favor of—and against—the rules are complex and interesting in their own right, but readers are most interested in knowing how and when the Court will issue a ruling on the rules.

What’s the Likely Ruling?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a magic eight ball to predict the future, so we cannot be 100% certain. That said, based on the questions that the Justices asked during oral argument, we think that the Court will likely affirm the legality of the healthcare rules (those rules, after all, narrowly apply in the healthcare context) but hold that the large-employer rules are illegal. If we are correct, the Biden Administration would be allowed to continue to enforce and implement the COVID-19 rules for healthcare workers but not for large employers. However, as we’ve said before, large employers could still be subject to state or local COVID-19 rules.

When Will the Court Issue Its Ruling?

Again, it’s hard to say with definite confidence. But the Court’s website indicates that the Court will issue an opinion (ruling) this Thursday (January 13, 2022). To be sure, the Court has not said what that ruling will be about. But the announced Thursday release date is significant because the Court does not customarily issue opinions on Thursdays, which potentially signifies the Court’s desire to release a ruling on a matter of public importance then (without question, the COVID-19 rules are a matter of public importance). You can track the Court’s developments online at www.supremecourt.gov.

What Should Businesses Do Now?

If you are a large employer or a healthcare provider, you should not wait till Thursday—or any other day that the Court may issue a ruling on the COVID-19 rules. That is the last thing you want to do as both sets of rules have upcoming compliance deadlines. If you have not already, you should ensure that your business complies with these rules so that, if these rules are upheld, you can hit the ground running and avoid citation penalties.

If you need help to take you through the ruling and ensure your business is in compliance, please contact us at info@mnklawyer.com.

This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.

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