Twenty-four Republican attorneys general sent a seven-page letter to Joe Biden threatening legal action if the president’s vaccine mandate is put into effect.
The effort is being led by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who called the mandate “disastrous.” “I am committed to continuing leading with my colleagues to push back and fight this mandate all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary,” Reyes said in a statement.
The proposed mandates are offensive on a number of levels: they violate constitutional separation of powers, reasonable notions of federalism and vastly expand the invasive reach of federal agencies under the guise of “emergency powers.”
As announced, the mandates are not tailored to real world business realities such as telecommuting and threaten jobs when the workforce is most vulnerable financially.
We call on President Biden to withdraw his proposed standards. Forcing them on the business community will be disastrous from a legal, policy and financial standpoint and it will further divide America,” said Attorney General Reyes.
That pretty much covers the major objections. But the question is whether any of them will pass muster with a federal judge
Federal judges are notoriously shy about stepping on the toes of the executive regarding anything. What has been working since the pandemic began are efforts to show that executives — governors, especially — have overstepped their authority when it comes to using “emergency powers” to justify extraordinary actions.
AG Reyes points out that judges have been especially cautious about OSHA’s powers.
History has shown that the judicial branch is highly skeptical of the use of OSHA emergency temporary standards because of concerns about federalism and the separation of powers. Further, the AGs raise concerns about the expansion of a federal regulatory agency and public perception of the order’s constitutionality.
The coalition of AGs goes beyond legal arguments to address practical policy considerations of such a sweeping order. Most concerning is the potential to drive individuals out of the workforce, particularly healthcare workers, who are most needed right now to fight the pandemic. Additionally, this mandate ignores the tens of millions of Americans with natural immunity and will drive further skepticism of vaccines.
On the legislative front, states may opt for passive resistance to the mandate.
Members of the Utah Legislature’s Health and Human Services Interim Committee heard Wednesday from a group proposing legislation described as intended to keep businesses in the state from becoming “an enforcement arm of medical policy.”
Kristen Chevrier, who has spoken out against COVID-19 vaccines and was appearing on behalf of a new organization, Utah Open for Business, testified that the group’s proposal “is not for or against vaccinations or other health interventions. It merely protects business owners from being coerced into bearing cost and responsibility, and it protects employee privacy.”
Federal courts are going to be very busy. They will be handling vaccine mandate cases from other states, from businesses, and from potentially hundreds of thousands of individuals who, for whatever reason, will refuse to get vaccinated and don’t think they should lose their jobs because of it.
The mandate is likely to be seen in hindsight as Joe Biden’s biggest gaffe in his entire gaffe-prone career.
Here are the states that signed on to the letter:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia