South Carolina AG: Biden claimed a nonexistent 'federal police power' to impose vaccine mandates

"I feel like this president likes this pandemic, because ... when people are afraid, they're more willing to give up their personal liberty," said Alan Wilson.

Updated: December 18, 2021 - 11:03pm

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    South Carolina has fought all three of President Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandates because all are unconstitutional, argues state Attorney General Alan Wilson. 

    The three vaccine mandates — which have met resistance in the courts — are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate for private businesses of 100 or more employees, the mandate for healthcare facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and the mandate for federal contractors. 

    U.S. courts have recognized that states have the authority to enforce vaccine mandates because they have a "general police power," but the federal government does not, Wilson told the John Solomon Reports podcast. 

    "[W]hen you look at the history of vaccine mandates, no one disputes that the courts in the history of the United States have upheld vaccine mandates, but those vaccine mandates were instituted by state law," he explained. "They were passed by state legislatures, or the people's elected representatives, and they were done at the state level under the state's general police power, which the federal government does not have a general police power.

    "Mr. Biden has decided to basically try to have what I would refer to as a federal police power, and that they could just basically use the authority of the federal government — they could rewrite contracts, they could violate the Procurement Act, they could violate the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution, they could commandeer state legislatures — through federal power to compel its citizens to get the jab."

    The lawsuits South Carolina has joined have nothing to do with whether the vaccine itself is "a good thing or a bad thing," Wilson clarified, noting that he personally has received the vaccine. "This is about the role and the relationship of the federal government with its citizens."

    Wilson cautioned those who agree with the vaccine mandates being used to expand federal power, warning that those expanded powers could be exercised for causes they don't support when the actors in the federal government change.

    "And that power will never be given back willingly," he said. "So you got to keep the federal government constrained in its role."

    The goalposts keep getting moved, Wilson argued — from lockdowns and mask mandates to flatten the curve until the vaccine came out to, now, more lockdowns again and vaccine mandates. 

    "[F]or me, the pandemic was over when the vaccine was distributed," Wilson said. "But now, it's about moving the goalposts further back, so that they can continue [the] crackdowns, the lockdowns, the mandates, for the sake of power.

    "I feel like this president likes this pandemic, because ... when people are afraid, they're more willing to give up their personal liberty. And so the fear is what is allowing the federal government to grow its power. And that is what we've got to push back against."

    Wilson said some Democrats are recognizing how unpopular the mandates are and have started distancing themselves from the Biden administration, especially with the 2022 midterm elections looming in just 11 months. 

    Democratic governors who have decided not to implement private sector vaccine mandates include Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, The Hill reported. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has said he won't issue a statewide mask mandate.

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