Last week, President Joe Biden channeled the anger and frustration of the silent majority of responsible, vaccinated people. When he announced his new policy on vaccinations and testing, Biden said: “This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated….And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19. Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they’re ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from COVID in their communities. This is totally unacceptable….We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.”
Biden’s new plan will mandate that all companies with more than 100 workers must require them to be vaccinated or test for Covid weekly. And the approximately 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicaid or Medicare will have to be fully vaccinated. Biden’s executive orders will require an additional 100 million Americans to either get vaccinated or tested once per week.
In response, the Republicans went into their tired and all too predictable phony outrage mode. These sabotaged minded Republicans are fighting for the so-called “rights” of a reckless minority faction of anti-vaxxers. (Oddly enough, none of the anti-vaxxers have stopped to ask themselves why every single one of the elected officials who are pledging to fight against the so-called vaccine mandate are themselves vaccinated.) What the Republicans and their anti-vaxxer allies don’t realize is that liberty doesn’t mean the freedom to infect others.
One of the GOP’s phony talking points is that Biden’s executive order is unconstitutional and thwarts the will of the Founding Fathers. Somehow, the Republicans failed to mention that vaccine mandates go all the way back to George Washington during the American Revolution. Washington mandated small pox vaccinations for the Continental Army.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (predictably) joined the GOP freak out and promised to file a lawsuit challenging Biden’s new policy. The billionaire governor said: “I’ve been talking to my attorney general, he is coordinating with the other attorneys general across the country who share similar views about the overreach.” If the billionaire governor and Doug Peterson “win” their case, thousands of Americans will get sick and many will die of covid-19.
Ricketts and Peterson have a long history of filing frivolous or junk lawsuits. They have lost cases aimed at throwing out Obama Care without a replacement plan, tossing out DACA and denying employment protections to LGBT citizens. Their most ridiculous (and dangerous case) was the junk lawsuit filed by Texas, Nebraska and 16 other red states aimed at throwing out the 62 electoral votes for Joe Biden in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Any lawsuit filed by Ricketts and Peterson aimed at getting more people sick is as frivolous as the other politically charged lawsuits they have lost. Both national and local legal experts are unanimous in their opinion that President Biden was on solid legal ground when he announced his life saving executive order.
Republicans seem to be unaware that a very conservative Supreme Court in 1905 decided that Massachusetts’ compulsory vaccination law was constitutional. At the time, Massachusetts was suffering from a smallpox outbreak. In his majority opinion, Justice John Marshall Harlan ruled that: ”The defendant insists that his liberty is invaded when the State subjects him to fine or imprisonment for neglecting or refusing to submit to vaccination; …and, therefore, hostile to the inherent right of every freeman to care for his own body and health in such way as to him seems best… But the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good.”
Biden’s orders will also most likely prevail because he is relying upon workplace safety laws and the Constitution’s spending powers. Juliet Sorensen, a professor at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law said that: “Biden’s orders will largely be enforced by the Department of Labor, which includes the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration, an arm of the executive branch with the authority to implement and oversee the orders. OSHA’s mission is to ensure safe workplace conditions around the country and therefore naturally extends to keeping workers safe from Covid.”
“The president also has the power to regulate spending power, which is relevant to Biden’s mandate requiring employees working in health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement to be vaccinated… “(T)he president and the executive branch have the constitutional power to dictate various elements of federal spending, especially when it comes to health care,” according to Sylvia A. Law, a professor emeritus at New York University’s School of Law.
The Omaha World Herald reported that: “(T)wo Omaha legal experts — Baird Holm attorney R.J. Stevenson and Creighton University associate law professor Kelly Dineen — said that based on what is known, the Biden administration appears to be within its rights as long as it doesn’t violate a person’s medical or religious objections.” Dineen said: “As long as it aligns with the health of the workers in the workplace, it’s likely to be absolutely legally valid.”
We need to make GOP extremism the centerpiece of the 2022 campaign. There will be a lot of fired up Democrats and vaccinated people at the polls next year. They know that the Republican Party is completely unfit to govern. “Don’t agonize; organize. No whining; just winning.” Nancy Pelosi.