Supreme Court issues revised transcript of Gorsuch remark about flu deaths

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The Supreme Court on Monday issued a revised transcript of oral arguments over a Biden administration vaccine rule that clarified a statement Justice Neil Gorsuch made about the number of annual flu deaths.

The original, uncorrected transcript quotes Gorsuch as saying he believes the flu kills "hundreds of thousands of people every year."

This erroneous transcription prompted legions of tweets and at least one media report that tut-tutted Gorsuch and pointed out the actual number of annual flu deaths, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate, is between 12,000 and 52,000 - well below the hundreds of thousands the conservative justice purportedly cited.

On Monday, however, the Supreme Court's press office issued a corrected transcript showing that Gorsuch actually said he believes the flu kills "hundreds, thousands of people every year."

Below is the corrected quote in full, which occurred during a colloquy with a government attorney over the vaccine rule promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

"We have vaccines against that - that, but the federal government through OSHA, so far as I know, and you can correct me, does not mandate every worker in the country to receive such a vaccine. We have flu vaccines. The flu kills, I believe, hundreds, thousands of people every year. OSHA has never purported to regulate on that basis."

Gorsuch and fellow conservative justices appeared skeptical during last week's arguments over the Biden administration rule, which imposes a COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement on employers with 100 or more workers.

A ruling in the case, National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, is expected soon.