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Are vaccine mandates constitutional? Yes. But are these "vaccines"?
Aaron Siri debated Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the Berkeley Law School. Neither persuaded the other that he was right. Courts usually trust the government on whether vaccines work. That's the problem.
Here’s the debate between Aaron Siri and Berkeley Law School Dean Chemerinsky that took place on May 31, 2022. Here’s the backstory as to why this is just being released now.
It boils down to this:
Courts have ruled that the state is allowed to protect the public from harm by mandating vaccines
Courts have always sided with the government as to whether it is a vaccine and whether it works.
Siri was right in that these things are not vaccines and they have no public benefit. But the law doesn’t work that way: the judges trust the government.
So the bottom line is that even if the vaccine kills everyone who takes it, if the government says it is safe and those deaths were just coincidences, the courts will go along with the government and allow them mandate you take the vaccine.
Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of those judges to go around.
Important nuance: the past decisions allowed minor fines
Jacobson lost, but all he was forced to do was pay the cash fine of $5.
From a comment from Paul:
Mass v Jacobson was primarily a taxation case that has been pulled into the vaccine debate. It has been misinterpreted by the media, and by many lawyers who have not studied the issue.
The question before the Court was whether the public health department had powers to collect revenue. They were fining the unvaccinated. The court (rightly) said yes, you have the power to fine people as long as its not excessively burdensome (the fine was $5).
This is the same principle that allows the health department, for example, to fine restaurants who violate health codes (in other words, the treasury is not the only ones who can collect revenue).
One can argue this has gotten out of hand, with virtually every arm of the government collecting fees, but that's a different story. And, the Court may have (inadvertently?) given public health the power to define what is safe (in this case the vaccines are NOT safe), but that is also beside the point.
The point is, the fine can not be excessively burdensome.
So any reasonable person would say that firing someone is definitely more burdensome than a $5 (or even $100) fine.
At the beginning of this, if they had just said, anyone who isn't vaccinated has the option to pay $100 to get the equivalent of a vaccine card (to keep their job, get their passport, whatever), then it would have been in line with Jacobson and we would be a LOT better off today.
Sure it's still grossly unfair, and sure the courts need to be looking into the safety of these vaccines. But millions of people would have just said, sure, take the $100 out of my paycheck or whatever, and so many lives would have been saved.
Also, preventing someone from travel is MORE than a fine, it's a restriction on freedom, which is outside the scope of Jacobson.
I agree with Aaron Siri that the courts need to stop trusting the government and be finders of fact.
No government should be able to mandate a vaccine unless they can show beyond a reasonable doubt that the intervention’s benefits outweigh the risks. The burden should be on the government, not on us to prove it is unsafe.
And even then, I would have trouble with this reasoning because they can’t prove it is safe and where there is risk, there must be choice.
Congress needs to change the law to make it clear: no more vaccine mandates.