More Constitutional confusion

A federal judge in Texas has struck down a federal mandate requiring vaccination for all federal employees.  He did not rule that vaccinations are bad, or that the federal government lacks the power to require its employees to be vaccinated, despite the ignorant protestations from the reporters' pet sources.  The judge ruled that an executive order is an improper means of imposing such a requirement, which must instead be enacted by Congress--something Congress clearly has no intention whatever of doing, being too busy with futile attempts to jam through laws for which they've known for months that they lacked the votes.

This case is distinguishable from the Supreme Court's recent upholding a rule allowing a vaccine mandate for workers in Medicare and Medicaid facilities, because you can make a case that the legislature enabling Medicare and Medicaid funding contemplated and authorized the restriction in its provisions for infection control.  The case may not be airtight, but it was enough to get Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh on board.  As usual, however, the caterwauling is not about whether a judge is correct about the established procedures for imposing new rules, but about whether the policy is a good one and therefore should be tolerated even if enacted by clearly illegal means.  Anyone who insists on the rule of law must want to deny science and murder Grandma.

Of course, if a Supreme Court justice is demonstrably unaware of these niceties, what are the odds that there's a mainstream reporter in the entire country with a clue?


E Hines said...

The judge's ruling will be appealed (has been appealed by now, I think) to the 5th Circuit. That court, in light of its no-uncertain-terms strike of the Feds' mandate that businesses of a size must vaccinate, test, or fire, seems almost certain to uphold the judge's ruling.

After that, it'll be up to a Supreme Court Chief Justice more interested in legacy than he is in what a law or Constitutional clause says and to an Associate Justice who's willfully ignorant of plain facts, much less of plain text.

Eric Hines

Christopher B said...

IANAL but it seems to me this ruling could have huge implications for the laws that govern Civil Service jobs. If a President can order vaccinations what other qualifications could be put on continued employment of supposedly 'nonpartisan' civil servants? Roberts seems to be of the belief that he can fashion 'one time only' opinions. Look at how they screwed Trump on executive privilege but tried to make sure that nobody could use the same ruling to look at Kavanaugh's communications with W.

Of course, the Democrats might welcome the ability to force every government employee to sign a statement of support for an election result.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yeah, that is my worry. I think it is correct to say "the government can do this, but there is an obvious way to accomplish that, and if you can't, then we are going to be extremely suspicious of dubious workarounds, without commenting on the worthiness of your cause." And this is so for precisely that reason. If this, what else? Whether it goes slowly (most likely) or quickly (not impossible), it is still a divergence from what we have long understood about separation of powers.

E Hines said...

If a President can order vaccinations what other qualifications could be put on continued employment of supposedly 'nonpartisan' civil servants?

A President--or any Executive Branch agency head--ought not be able to order such things (whether they can as a legal matter may soon be decided, or muddied). But specific such things certainly could be matters of contractual agreement. Especially when public unions are negotiating with themselves through their government "counter"party.

Eric Hines