Vaccine mandates and the Equal Protection clause

On September 9, 2021, President Biden stopped merely haranguing American citizens to get vaccinated.  Going forward, he would simply force up to 100 million people to submit to vaccination whether they liked it or not.  Biden didn't mince words as he announced a federal vaccine mandate, telling unvaccinated American citizens that his patience had run out and they were responsible for a lot of damage.  The backlash was swift.  Unions want to negotiate vaccination requirements.  South Carolina governor Henry McMaster accused the administration of thumbing its nose at the Constitution.

The strongest response came from Arizona.  The state filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, alleging that illegal aliens are being released into the country with no requirement to get vaccinated, which discriminates against United States citizens who are being required to get vaccinated.  The lawsuit argues that the mandate violates the Equal Protection Clause.

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment declares, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Equal protection includes equal enforcement.  A federal vaccination mandate intended to prevent the spread of a deadly virus must include everyone within the jurisdiction of that federal government.  However, a third of illegal aliens at detention centers are refusing to be vaccinated.  They have the right to refuse vaccination, even though approximately 20–40% have tested positive before being released by the Border Patrol.  White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that migrants are not required to vaccinate.

Arizona is only the first state to sue the administration over mandates that subject American citizens to forced vaccination while allowing migrants, legal or otherwise, to walk free with no COVID requirements at all.  It will not be the last state.  Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has announced that he plans to sue over the vaccination mandate.  Florida governor Ron DeSantis has threatened to fine cities and counties with vaccination mandates.  Vaccines are required in certain situations, such as schools and health care facilities, but a mandate based on citizenship status rather than the danger of infection is hardly scientific.

Pandra Selivanov is the author of Future Slave, a story about a black 21st-century teenager who is sent back in time and becomes a slave in the Old South.

Image: mRNA vaccine by spencerbdavis1.  Pixabay license.

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