Last week, President Joe Biden took down many state officials – including Ohio Governor Mike DeWine – by announcing vaccine warrants to protect against COVID-19 that many governors may have. be felt that they could not order, or did not. t want to rule given the political risks to themselves.
DeWine did admit at a press conference this week that without the recent Ohio law in which the legislature vetoed state health orders, and knowing that such powers veto would be applied to a new mask warrant order, it would have reimposed a mask warrant in Ohio.
Yet in widely cited remarks, DeWine also called Biden’s actions a “mistake” – in his view, infringing on employers’ rights and contributing to divisions over vaccinations. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined 23 other attorneys general on Thursday in warning “we will seek all available lawsuits” to end it.
Under Biden’s Sept. 9 executive order, all federal employees, contractors, and those working in Medicare and Medicaid-funded healthcare facilities (for example, most healthcare facilities) must be vaccinated unless specifically required by law. Separately, Biden also asked the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to write an emergency rule for large employers (100 or more employees) requiring vaccination or weekly testing as a measure. safety in the workplace. The administration estimated that the measure will apply to more than 80 million workers in the private sector.
A 1905 Supreme Court ruling still controls the government’s right to order vaccinations for obvious public health reasons, as long as it does not discriminate against any demographic group. But would that be the right of the federal government, or that of a state, or both? And OSHA’s workplace safety rules don’t always survive court challenges.
Writing for NBC News, Jennifer D. Oliva, who heads the Center for Health and Pharmaceutical Law at Seton Hall University School of Law, argues that Biden’s order could outlive the challenges by giving employers the option to demand tests not vaccination, but that OSHA’s rule, if worded in general terms, could be subject to legal challenge.
So was Biden wise to issue his warrants, including on large employers, as COVID cases escalate in Ohio and elsewhere? Was DeWine right in pointing out the potential for division of the rule and the usurpation of the rights of private employers? Should AG Yost go to court to arrest him? The editorial board’s roundtable offers its opinions.
Ted Diadiun, columnist:
People who do not get the vaccine are taking an insane risk with their health, assuming there are no mitigating factors. But here in the land of the free, we have the right to be fools if we want to. I am not in favor of the president having the right to force me and others to put a needle in our arms.
Thomas Suddes, columnist:
Yes, President Biden’s orders are legal and they are appropriate.
Eric Foster, columnist:
The reality is that if we don’t get more Americans vaccinated, this pandemic will never end. She won’t magically disappear if we act like she doesn’t exist. Biden had to intervene because too many Americans claim a perverse constitutional right to ignore a potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no such right. Overcome yourself and get vaccinated.
Victor Ruiz, member of the editorial board:
President Biden understands that making tough decisions during tough times is what’s required of the President’s office. I congratulate him for leading with facts, integrity and values, which our country lacked under the previous administration. These mandates are about saving lives, not playing politics.
Lisa Garvin, Editorial Board Member:
To all those who shout “freedom” vis-à-vis vaccine mandates: you know what? I would like to be safe from the endless waves of economy-destroying COVID surges, mostly caused by unvaccinated people refusing to do what is right for the collective health of our nation. If there is a need for a federal mandate on vaccines, so be it. Let the legal challenges begin.
Mary Cay Doherty, Editorial Board Member:
Biden’s tenure is an attack on freedom that ignores the realities of COVID. Vaccines effectively limit serious illnesses. But they won’t eliminate COVID. Their protection weakens and new variants will appear. And those who are vaccinated can still “catch” and transmit COVID to others. Meanwhile, those with natural immunity to a previous infection do not need vaccines. Blockades and mask warrants haven’t stopped COVID. The vaccination warrants either.
Elizabeth Sullivan, Opinion Director:
Joe Biden may have ignored the Afghan pullout, but at least he’s shown he’s ready to make some tough decisions and take fire for something he believes in. With his vaccine mandates, he demonstrates what presidential leadership – all leadership – is all about. As this deadly pandemic enters a new phase, Americans need a decisive assertion of authority to keep our seniors and youth safe.
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