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Marshall tells Biden not to proceed with COVID vaccine rules

Marshall joined a coalition of 24 attorneys general in issuing the warning in a letter to Biden on Thursday.

Attorney General Steve Marshall speaks on a proposed rewrite of the state ethics laws. (Chip Brownlee/APR)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Thursday sent a letter to President Joe Biden, warning the president not to proceed with his controversial executive orders that 100 million Americans get the COVID-19 vaccine or he will face the state of Alabama in court.

Marshall warned Biden that if his administration proceeds with his mandate that private-sector employees either get a COVID-19 shot, submit to weekly testing, or be fired, the state will sue the president.

Marshall joined a coalition of 24 attorneys general in issuing the warning in a letter to Biden on Thursday.

“President Biden’s vow to impose an unlawful and unprecedented vaccination mandate on nearly 100 million Americans is an authoritarian power grab that the State of Alabama will not allow to go unchecked,” said Attorney General Marshall. “The president has no legal grounds to use the Department of Labor to order businesses to broadly force employees to submit to his get-vaxxed-or-get-fired dictate. As I have said, when his administration issues its rule, we file our lawsuit.”

Marshall and the 23 other attorneys general underscored their argument that Biden’s vaccine mandate misuses its authority in attempting to impose a nationwide health decree through an emergency labor order that heretofore has been directed to address workplace safety.

“According to you, Mr. President, this [mandate] would affect nearly 80 million Americans. But many millions more would be directly and indirectly harmed,” Marshall wrote. “Millions of Americans are threatened with losing their jobs and the benefits that come with them, including life and health insurance and retirement benefits. Your threat carries with it the threat of people losing their homes and shifting the financial obligation of supporting currently independent and employed individuals to public support systems. Worse still, if your expansive reading of the law succeeds, the American people can expect further abuses, as it is hard to imagine any requirement that the law would not allow. You are clearly acting beyond the scope of the statute, and you will fail in court.”

Forced vaccination orders by state governments have already been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark Jacobsen versus Massachusetts decision of 1905.

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“Some proponents of broad government mandates have claimed authority from a previously little-known case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts. But that case is irrelevant. It holds only that a State’s vaccine mandate does not always violate the Fourteen Amendment right to due process,” Marshall wrote to the president. “The case does not come close to suggesting that the federal government has the power to impose such sweeping federal mandates.”

Attorney General Marshall joined the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming in sending the letter to Biden Thursday.

The president is unlikely to cave in to the demands of the Republican attorney generals; thus setting the stage for a federal court case that will likely go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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