Home / General / Vaccine mandates are constitutional and good policy

Vaccine mandates are constitutional and good policy


I am needless to say concerned about whether the more than century old Supreme Court doctrine affirming that mandatory vaccinations during a pandemic is constitutional will survive the Trumpified version, but for now this is good news:

In what appeared to be the first ruling upholding a coronavirus vaccine mandate by a university, a federal judge affirmed on Monday that Indiana University could require that its students be vaccinated against the virus.

A lawyer for eight student plaintiffs had argued that requiring the vaccine violated their right to bodily integrity and autonomy, and that the coronavirus vaccines have only emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, and should not be considered as part of the normal range of vaccinations schools require. He vowed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

“What we have here is the government forcing you to do something that you strenuously object to and have your body invaded in the process,” said the lawyer, James Bopp Jr.

He said that the appeal would be paid for by America’s Frontline Doctors, a conservative organization that has been pursuing an anti-vaccine agenda. Mr. Bopp, of Terre Haute, Ind., is known for his legal advocacy promoting conservative causes.

Bopp has also done a lot of work for the “pro-life” [LOL] movement.

Incidentally, while the FDA argument is obviously being used in bad faith — Bopp’s next argument would logically apply to all of the vaccines mandated by IU — the FDA’s foot-dragging on granting non-emergency approval is in fact bad and is probably reducing vaccinations on the margin although nobody questions whether the approval will eventually be given.

Anyway, mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations are good and the policy should be implemented wherever it’s viable to do so:

Biden can set an example by using his authority to mandate vaccinations for airline travel and Amtrak travel and for federal employees or those who enter federal buildings. The Pentagon has not made vaccinations mandatory because they were approved only on an emergency basis by the Food and Drug Administration — which is why a third of the military still hasn’t received a single shot. Biden can and should issue an executive order mandating military vaccinations as a national security priority.

Granted, there are limits to the United States’ ability to mandate vaccines because many red-state governors are unlikely to go along. But even Republicans want to fly on airplanes and visit blue states such as California, Hawaii, Nevada and New York. Vaccine mandates will prove controversial, to put it mildly, but, like seat belt laws, drunken driving laws and motorcycle helmet laws, they will save lives. We should not grant an unreasonable minority the power to endanger public health.

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