President Joe Biden departed to Camp David on Friday. But he made a passing remark to a reporter that has many Americans concerned.
“Can Americans expect more guidelines coming out and more restrictions because of Covid?”
“In all probability. By the way, we had a good day yesterday, almost a million people got vaccinated,” Biden replied. “About half of million of those people for the first time, and for the second shot. And so, I’m hopeful that people are beginning to realize how essential it is to move.”
“Mr. President, [inaudible] Are you satisfied…” the reporter added.
“We’re in process,” Biden added. “And I’m hopeful. Thank you.”
On Friday, it was reported that the Biden administration is looking into a federal vaccination mandate.
“That’s something that I think the administration is looking into,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “It’s something that I think we are looking to see approval of from the vaccine.”
“Overall, I think in general, I am all for more vaccination. But I have nothing further to say on that except that we are looking into those policies,” she added.
But Walensky clarified that this federal mandate would be by private institutions and parts of the federal government.
“I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government,” she said. “There will be no federal mandate.”
On Friday, the Biden administration issued more stringent regulations on COVID-19.
“President Joe Biden on Thursday urged local governments to pay people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and set new rules requiring federal workers to provide proof of vaccination or face regular testing, mask mandates and travel restrictions,” Reuters reported.
“Biden’s decision to require millions of federal workers and contractors to show proof of vaccination is a departure from a previous opposition to so-called vaccine passports,” the report added. “It shows the White House taking a tougher stance towards circumstances within Biden’s control as the virus spreads.”
Legal scholar Jonathan Turley put the White House’s preference towards the “coercion model” in legal context.
“The federal government is on shaky ground in mandating hood behavior or inactivity,” Turley said. “In 2012 in NFIB v. Sebelius, Chief Justice John Roberts declared that ‘Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority’.”
Turley adds that the vaccine issue is becoming a political wedge issue for many in the country.
“The greatest danger with the coercion model is that it will further deepen our divisions and turn vaccine resistance into a type of patriotic resistance for some people,” Turley said. “Recently, a shocking poll found that almost 50 percent of Republicans believe “patriotic Americans [might] have to take the law into their own hands.” The poll shows how many Americans are increasingly alienated from the government, the media and the established order. Conversely, some commentators on the left have declared that the unvaccinated are terrorists using “biological warfare” against the nation.”
“Threatening to make the lives of the unvaccinated a ‘living hell,’ or isolating them from society, likely will do little to increase the level of vaccination — but it will do much to increase the level of alienation in our society,” he added.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.