A forceful vaccine mandate in all but name courtesy of President Biden has set the political world aflame with lawmakers criticizing the six-point plan to deal with the Delta variant of COVID as “unconstitutional.” Accusations of heavy-handedness and illegality have begun to pour out from elected politicos, suggesting that lawsuits are being drafted even as the ink dries on the president’s orders.
The Snowball Effect
In a move that appeared to let the constitutional cat out of the bag, White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain retweeted a post from MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle, saying, “… doing this vaxx mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is the ultimate work-around for the Federal govt to require vaccinations.” And while Biden’s plan seems to be just that, pointing out that the administration is involved in a “work-around” to the law of the land was the equivalent of saying the quiet part out loud.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) was quick to respond to Klain’s apparent admission, writing:
“Important. Foolish RT from WH chief of staff. He said the quiet part out loud. Biden admin knows it’s likely illegal (like the eviction moratorium) but they don’t care.”
Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) echoed Cruz, calling the decision “absolutely unconstitutional,” as did Rep. Robert Aderholt (R) of Alabama. Colorado’s Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) went a step further in lambasting the president, calling the use of such forceful rules a failure of leadership. She wrote:
“All 9 million federal employees should consult with their doctor and make a personal, informed decision about taking the vaccine. Instead, Sleepy Joe says take it or else … You don’t lead by coercion. Biden has failed as a leader in every way.”
Let Legal Battle Commence
With so many initial cries of unconstitutionality and illegality, it wasn’t long before serious talk of legal challenges began.
As AP News reports, “The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.” In essence, this signifies that affected individuals, companies, and organizations exist in every single state, giving local leaders a direct platform to get involved.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) said that she was preparing to challenge the orders in the courts immediately. She warned, “My legal team is standing by ready to file our lawsuit the minute @joebiden files his unconstitutional rule. This gross example of federal intrusion will not stand.” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) was somewhat firmer, insisting that he would fight Biden and the vaccination mandates “to the gates of hell.”
Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey (R), vowed that Biden’s “overreach” would not pass muster, writing:
“This is exactly the kind of big government overreach we have tried so hard to prevent in Arizona — now the Biden-Harris administration is hammering down on private businesses and individual freedoms in an unprecedented and dangerous way. This will never stand up in court.
“This dictatorial approach is wrong, un-American and will do far more harm than good. How many workers will be displaced? How many kids kept out of classrooms? How many businesses fined? The vaccine is and should be a choice. We must and will push back.”
A Distraction That Failed to Distract
With the Biden administration still reeling from the one-two punch of a mounting crisis on the southern border and a failed Afghanistan withdrawal, some have suggested that a “six-point strategy” announcement was most likely an attempt at distraction; refocusing the media and the people on something other than the poor polling numbers that have arisen in the wake of Biden’s recent decisions.
Instead, the move to enforce vaccine mandates in all but name has focused ire and anger at a president who can’t seem to get a grip on the myriad issues that face any leader. It seems as though each wrong move compounds the belief – as demonstrated by almost all major polling – that Biden is out of his depth. Some critics suggest that not all the fault lies with the president himself, and that a portion of the blame should be shared with those he has appointed. But the fact that he chose people whose track records were less than exemplary in the first place once again speaks to his own failings.
Whether the multiple lawsuits soon to come are successful or not remains to be seen. However, that the White House staff openly portray the actions as a “work-around” against something that lawmakers state is both unconstitutional and illegal should be cause for concern to those who support the president’s decision.
Read more from Mark Angelides.