The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. — The Tenth Amendment
The federal government is granted certain enumerated powers in the U.S. Constitution. Knowing that there would be a temptation for federal authorities to expand their power and make the federal government into a leviathan, the founding fathers wisely limited federal authority to powers explicitly enumerated in the founding document. President Joe Biden’s nationwide vaccine mandate is a rebellion not only against these limits, but a direct attack on Congress’ proper authority to pass legislation.
Some would argue that Biden’s nationwide vaccine mandate is a good idea because “mandates work.” They do, which is why schools require vaccinations for a number of childhood diseases. I am not opposed to all vaccine mandates as a principle. I have no problem with employers requiring a COVID-19 vaccine or for places like sports arenas to require proof of vaccination. As I have said many times, herd immunity is our only way out of the pandemic.
But this is not only a policy or scientific question, and the mandate should not be implemented the way Biden did it. Biden’s vaccine mandate has been implemented by the bureaucracy, with no vote from Congress. Not only does it ignore constitutional limits on the enumerated powers of the federal government, it usurps the authority of Congress to vote on and pass legislation. Joe Biden is the President. He is not a king with unlimited authority to make law by himself. Just because a policy “works” is not a justification for rebellion against the rule of law and stealing the rightful authority of the legislative branch.
We even have some people arguing that there is no nationwide vaccine mandate. This dishonest propaganda is what gaslighting looks like. Yes, it is a nationwide mandate, on every business that has 100 or more employees. The vast majority of the workforce nationwide is covered by this mandate. Furthermore, there is no way it is stopping with firms that have 100 or more employees. It will be expanded to all employees at some point.
If Biden is demanding we “follow the science,” why is this mandate limited to 100 or more employees? Do employees of businesses with fewer employees not have the “right” to be “safe” from COVID-19? Does the virus somehow magically not spread in a firm with 99 employees? Is this about pandemic mitigation, or is this about politics? If this is about workplace safety, then the rule would be universal.
But Biden needs to do this because Republican governors will not “do the right thing” on vaccine mandates, right? Wrong. We live in a federalist system. The Constitution defined the federal government’s authority as limited, leaving large swaths of policy-making power to the states. If you do not like how your Republican governor is using (or not using) his authority, you can move to a state run by Democrats. What you do not get to do is use the sledgehammer of the federal government to force your will on all 50 states regardless of what the people of that state want, expressed through their elected representatives.
We have granted far too much power to the federal government already, and this power is far beyond the limits of the U.S. Constitution. What we should be doing is rolling back federal power to the states. Congress is also in rebellion against the rule of law by abdicating its authority to the executive branch. Congress must re-assert its authority and discipline the President’s rebellion. This can be done, but we need leaders with principles and the courage to stand by those principles.