Advocates Of Religious Liberty Should Care About Federal Vaccine Mandates

Although much of the rhetoric surrounding the new federal vaccine mandates focuses on individual rights—“how dare they force me to inject something into my body?”—the government can generally regulate its own employees, or those it funds with Medicaid/​Medicare dollars, so the strongest legally cognizable claims there are for people with valid religious or medical objections. And the latter has to include natural immunity, which provides more robust and durable protection against COVID-19 than any vaccine.

But the more systemic problem comes with the mandate imposed on businesses, requiring all those that employ more than 99 people to have their employees vaccinated. That private‐​sector mandate, which potentially affects more than 100 million people, presents a constitutional triple threat.

First, there’s a separation‐​of‐​powers issue in that this sweeping new regulation is being imposed by presidential diktat, with related claims about the proper scope of OSHA’s statutory authority and whether Congress can even delegate such broad power to the executive branch….

Second, even if the executive branch is permissibly interpreting the relevant federal laws, these kinds of impositions are hardly a regulation of interstate commerce (or the use of any other constitutionally enumerated power)…

Third, forcing private businesses to do the government’s dirty work isn’t a “proper” means of effectuating the goal of limiting the pandemic…. Read more»
Ilya Shapiro | “Federal Vaccine Mandates Pose a Constitutional Triple Threat” | CATO Institute | Sept 10, 2021


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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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