“The President has no authority to require that Americans inject themselves because of their employment at a private business,” Gov. Tate Reeves said. “The vaccine itself is life-saving, but this unconstitutional move is terrifying. This is still America, and we still believe in freedom from tyrants.”
Take out the politics.
First, President Joe Biden did not use his authority to order anything regarding private businesses.
What Biden said was, “So, tonight, I’m announcing that the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees, that together employ over 80 million workers, to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.”
Established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act of 1970, the Department of Labor’s OSHA has the authority to require businesses engaged in interstate commerce to adopt practices “reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment and places of employment.”
Contrary to what the Governor said, the legal authority exists. The debatable question is whether OSHA can justify that COVID is of sufficient hazard to workplace safety and health that its rule is reasonable.
Second, injections at businesses will not be required.
The OSHA rule will allow businesses to test employees weekly if the business chooses not to require vaccinations. That also would be subject to debate over its reasonableness.
Third, it is neither unconstitutional nor tyrannical.
In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the authority of government to require (smallpox) vaccinations. In his majority opinion Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote, “There is, of course, a sphere within which the individual may assert the supremacy of his own will and rightfully dispute the authority of any human government….But it is equally true that, in every well ordered society charged with the duty of conserving the safety of its members the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand.”
Put the politics back in.
“What does the President of the United States not have the ability to do?” Reeves exclaimed. “What else can he unilaterally force you to do?”
“I have the ultimate authority,” President Donald Trump said on April 14, 2020 about his power related to COVID. “The President of the United States calls the shots. If we weren’t here for the states we would have had a problem in this country like you’ve never seen before….When somebody is President of the United States the authority is total.”
The Governor didn’t make the rounds on Fox News lambasting Trump, but he has for Biden. He was also quiet when Trump issued nearly 200 executive orders, many usurping congressional authority.
It is the flagrant political spin and self-promotion by the Governor in the face of nearly 10,000 COVID deaths that is disturbing, not his disagreement with the President’s policies. Perhaps rumors are true that he is seeking the national political stage for his own presidential aspirations.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” – Psalm 51:10.
» BILL CRAWFORD is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.