The Supreme Court of the United States today heard oral arguments pertaining to two of the Biden administration’s COVID vaccine mandates.

The focus of the hearing was whether to stay or to grant temporary injunctions requested by plaintiffs in a number of lawsuits challenging the emergency mandates for millions of Americans.

The two  mandates in question include one imposed on private businesses with 100 or more employees, and the one for healthcare facilities participating in the Medicare or Medicaid programs.

The judges did not rule today and gave no indication as to how quickly the court will issue orders.

Mandate penalties enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are scheduled to begin next week for large private employers.

According to The New York Times, members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority appeared skeptical that the Biden administration had the legal power to impose a mandate requiring the nation’s large employers to require workers to be vaccinated against COVID or to undergo frequent testing.

But in a separate challenge regarding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate for healthcare workers and facilities, some justices appeared more open to vaccine requirements for certain healthcare workers, CNN reported.

The more liberal justices defended the government’s ability to impose vaccine mandates, citing concerns over Omicron, which Justice Sonya Sotomayor claimed was more deadly to the unvaccinated than the Delta variant.

Sotomayor also expressed concern over the 100,000 children she said were hospitalized, many of whom are on ventilators.

“We have over 100,000 children,” Justice Sotomayor said, “which we’ve never had before, in serious condition and many on ventilators. So saying it’s a workplace variant just underscores the fact that without some workplace rules with respect to vaccines or encouraging vaccines because this is not a vaccine mandate.”

The liberal justices said vaccine mandates were a needed response to the public health crisis, which Justice Stephen Breyer said caused 750,000 million new COVID cases yesterday in the U.S. — more than double the U.S. population.

“We know the best way to prevent spread is for people to get vaccinated,” Justice Elena Kagan said.

Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. and Justice Neil Gorsuch said the states and Congress, rather than a federal agency, were better equipped to address the pandemic in the nation’s workplaces.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett said the OSHA regulation appeared to reach too broadly in covering all large employers, while Justices Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested the governing statute had not authorized the agency to impose the mandate clearly, given what was at stake politically and economically.