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The Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court to weigh vaccine requirements for private workplaces

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court will hold a special session Friday to consider whether the Biden administration can enforce vaccine-and-testing rules for large private employers and a vaccine mandate for most healthcare workers.

The issues come to the court on an emergency basis during a record increase in U.S. Covid-19 infections. In a departure from its usual procedures, the court is hearing arguments on cases that haven’t been fully aired in lower courts.

Technically, the justices—all of whom, according to a court spokeswoman, are fully vaccinated and have received booster shots—don’t have to issue a definitive decision on whether the administration’s vaccine rules are lawful. Instead, they are considering whether President Biden’s team can implement them now while more detailed litigation continues. The cases, however, will require the justices to assess whether the White House has credible claims that it stayed within legal boundaries as it has sought to use longstanding laws to implement aggressive rules in the name of public health.

The answer is likely to decide the fate of the administration’s current approach to a virus that has killed more than 800,000 Americans and infected more than 50 million. Moreover, the court’s decisions could reset the public-health playbook for years to come.

An expanded version of this story appears on

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