Our Patience Is Wearing Thin Indeed

·3-min read
Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI - Getty Images
Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI - Getty Images

The administration got busy at the EOB on Thursday, which is how you do it if you have some policy moves that you want out there in time to be the main chew-toys on cable news and the main items on the front page of most publications, print or pixel. First, the president got tough on the notion of vaccine mandates. If you have more than 100 people working for you, then all of them have to be able to prove they’ve had the jab or a negative test. From the New York Times:

The efforts will mark the government’s biggest push yet to draw employers into efforts to vaccinate the country and would affect some 80 million workers. OSHA will issue an emergency temporary standard to implement the requirement, which will impact more than 80 million workers, according to officials familiar with a larger plan that the president is expected to outline on Thursday...OSHA, which is part of the Department of Labor, oversees workplace safety, which it will likely contend extends to vaccine mandates. The agency has issued other guidelines for pandemic precautions, such as a rule in June requiring health care employers to provide protective equipment, provide adequate ventilation and ensure social distancing, among other measures.

Predictably, heads began to explode and a whole lot of lame excuses fell out. These people are the piñatas of nonsense. From KSWO:

“My family and I chose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and I am grateful for it,” Senator Lankford said. “Every Oklahoman and American should have that same choice and option. Federal employees and contractors, members of our military, health care workers, and everyone else in our nation should be able to choose whether to get vaccinated. Period. The Biden proposal ignores the natural immunity millions of Americans have because they have recovered from COVID and the millions of other Americans that do not want to be forced to take a vaccine for a multitude of personal, religious, and medical reasons.”

None of this is consistent with either the Republican Party’s position on reproductive rights, or on mandatory drug testing in the workplace for that matter. (If my colleague hit the pipe over the weekend, I’m not going to be bringing the smoke home and give it to my three-year-old.) And also, except for Christian Scientists, I can’t see a single “religious reason” for not taking the vaccine. “You’re not the boss of me,” does not appear anywhere in Scripture.

Shortly thereafter, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Department of Justice will be suing the state of Texas over that ridiculously anti-choice law on which the Supreme Court recently took a dive. From the Washington Post:

At a news conference to announce the lawsuit filed in federal court in Austin, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the ban “is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent.” … Garland said the law is invalid under the Supremacy Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment, is preempted by federal law, and violates the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity. The U.S. government has “an obligation to ensure that no state can deprive individuals of their constitutional rights,” he said.

This decision obviously sets up a whopper of a dispute over the roles of the states and the federal government, although precedent and the Reconstruction Amendments both are on Garland’s side. Of course, the dispute will be arbitrated in a federal judicial system that has been radically transformed by right-wing judges, many of whom, I suspect, believe that Amendments XIII-XV have gone a little too far.

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