Biden v. Missouri, Becerra v. Louisiana

142 S. Ct. 647 (2022)

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Biden v. Missouri, Becerra v. Louisiana

United States Supreme Court
142 S. Ct. 647 (2022)

KD

Facts

In November 2021, Xavier Becerra (secretary) (defendant), the secretary of Health and Human Services, issued an interim final rule providing that to continue receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding, all participating facilities would have to ensure that, subject to medical and religious exemptions, their staff were vaccinated against COVID-19. The secretary concluded that the rule was necessary because COVID-19 was highly transmittable. Medicare and Medicaid patients were typically elderly, disabled, or ill and were therefore quite vulnerable to the virus. Unvaccinated healthcare workers posed substantial risks to such patients. Louisiana filed suit in federal district court challenging the rule’s legality. Missouri filed a similar suit in federal district court, naming President Joseph Biden (defendant) as defendant. The district courts in both cases found that the rule was defective and preliminarily enjoined its enforcement. Federal appellate courts in both cases denied the government’s requests to stay the preliminary injunctions. The government then filed applications to stay with the United States Supreme Court. There, the government relied on a variety of statutes and regulations to argue that the secretary had the authority to condition a facility’s receipt of Medicare and Medicaid funds on compliance with requirements that the secretary deemed necessary to protect the health and safety of patients. The government also noted that vaccine requirements were commonly imposed on healthcare workers. The secretary had not previously imposed such a requirement on participating facilities because vaccination requirements for other diseases were imposed under state law.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

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