Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Medical Tyranny? When Your Government Tells You to Abandon Freedom and Personal Choice, It's Time to Speak Out

Victory Boyd


The mainstream media has largely ignored a chilling story about disrespecting the religious beliefs of a black woman, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Victory Boyd. After being hired by the NFL to sing the national anthem at the season-opening football game on Sept. 9 in Tampa, Florida, she was fired when she stated that she wanted a personal religious exemption from the League's vaccination requirement. The requirement is surely not based on science, for she would be performing in Raymond James Stadium, an open-air venue, where she would not need to be in close contact with the fans and staff, just her entourage. But the NFL refused to honor her request for a religious exemption. Fired. And almost no media coverage (e.g., so sign of the story on CNN.com or CBS.com, though the latter has a story that mentions the release of her song "Open Your Eyes").  

To get a taste of what America missed on Sept. 9, please listen to her sing the most beautiful and touching rendition of the National Anthem that I've ever heard in her video post at Instagram.

But now it's not just the rights of one black woman that will trampled on. President Biden now seeks to protect us all by forcing people to be vaccinated. In his declaration on Thursday, he declared that private businesses now need to mandate vaccinations for their employees. “This is not about freedom or personal choice,” Biden said. “It’s about protecting yourself and those around you.” He's got that right: it's definitely not about freedom.

This comes after prior assurances from the White House and the head of the CDC that vaccine mandates were not within the scope of government plans nor authority. Now it suddenly is, though for some reason, the Administration still recognizes that it can't mandate masks. See "Biden Admits He Can't Mandate Masks. Why Does He Think He Can Mandate Vaccines?" at Reason.org.

Those who speak of personal choice and freedom these days are scorned (unless they are using that language to justify an act of violence against an unwanted prenatal human). I guess I need to come out and say I am willing to be in the scorned group.  If the potential for some minor public benefit trumps personal freedoms and Constitutional restraints on government authority, then freedom has no meaning (landlords, of course, already know this now that the CDC has "discovered" its authority to declare legal and voluntary contracts between renters and landlords essentially void "due to COVID"). When we think of the abuses of government in the past, there has almost always been a public welfare argument to be made:

  • Withholding syphilis medication from the victims of the Tuskegee experiment yielded important medical information that the Public Health Service and its daughter, the CDC, thought were important for medical progress for the good of society. 
  • Forced sterilization of "mentally feeble" citizens would supposedly help improve the overall mental ability of the race. This was not just one of the diabolical extremes of National Socialism in Germany, but the results of laws passed by many states in the US in the 1920s and supported by a ruling of the US Supreme Court in 1927, mentioned below.
  • Putting Japanese Americans into prison camps would allegedly reduce the danger to the rest of us when America was at war with Japan. 
  • Using force and terror to suppress the votes of freed black slaves in the South and rig elections would secure the rights of the white man and Christian society and "fortify" elections and democracy itself. On this, see the highly recommend work on the reign of terror in the South after the Civil War, Stephen Budiansky, The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox (New York: Viking, 2008), which I'll be reviewing here soon.

But vaccination requirements are not without precedent in the US, and even gained the support of the Supreme Court in the 1905 decision, Jacobson v. Massachusetts. The issue there was not exactly that of forced vaccination, but requiring a $5 fee to be paid if one did not get the smallpox vaccine. The Supreme Court ruled that there could be limits on individual freedoms when "reasonable regulations" were needed to secure public health.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was a Supreme Court justice who helped create the 1905 Jacobson opinion, built on the Jacobson decision in a later case related to eugenics, which had become politically popular in the 1920s. The following comes from History.com's 2021 article, "When the Supreme Court Ruled a Vaccine Could Be Mandatory":

In a far darker chapter, the Jacobson decision also provided judicial cover for a Virginia law that authorized the involuntary sterilization of “feeble-minded” individuals in state mental institutions. In the 1920s, eugenics enjoyed wide support in scientific and medical circles, and the Supreme Court justices were not immune.

In the infamous 1927 case Buck v. Bell, the Supreme Court accepted the questionable “facts” presented in the lower court cases that a young Virginia woman named Carrie Bell hailed from a long line of “mental defectives” whose offspring were a burden on public welfare.

“The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes (Jacobson v Massachusetts, 197 US 11). Three generations of imbeciles are enough,” wrote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in a chilling opinion.

The Buck decision opened the floodgates and by 1930, a total of 24 states had passed involuntary sterilization laws and around 60,000 women were ultimately sterilized under these statutes.

Buck v. Bell is the most extreme and barbaric example of the Supreme Court justifying a law in the name of public health,” says Sanders.  [emphasis added]

I think the ethics behind forced vaccination are questionable, especially for a disease far less dangerous than polio and in a climate where the science and ethics of those constantly seeking to expand government power leave huge question marks over the reasonableness of such a mandate. 

While I have been vaccinated, I support the rights and acknowledge the feelings of those who are hesitant about the COVID vaccines. As I have previously explained, they are not necessarily acting out of mere ignorance, but often have legitimate reasons for their positions. Ph.D.s, with whom I share some affinity, are among the most likely to resist the vaccine, and it's not out of pure ignorance.  Forcing them or people with any level of education to lose their jobs because of their choice relative to a new drug (for which it may yet take years to determine its long-term side effects) seems horrifically unfair and yes, contrary to the principles of freedom on which this nation was founded.

There are those who are at risk of adverse affects from the vaccine, and some have even been warned by their doctors that they should not get the vaccine for their own health. Will many of them now lose their jobs thanks to this sweeping, unjustified mandate?

There are those, perhaps particularly in the relatively less-vaccinated black community, who have sincere and thoughtful reasons for not wanting to take a vaccine that has not had the normal years of safety testing. Their reasons may be based on distrust of government, which was a legitimate reason for vaccine hesitancy expressed by many Democratic politicians when Trump was president, and may be a legitimate concern regardless of who is president, perhaps especially for those who recall the tragedy of the morally corrupt and vicious Tuskegee experiment that harmed many black Americans, an experiment that was supported by the CDC. 

Some, such as Victory Boyd, may have personal religious reasons for not wanting this particular vaccine, reasons which may be influenced by the rapidly developed nature of the vaccine and the sense that long-term safety testing has not had time to be fully completed. 

Some may have basic scientific objections such as the inadequacy of testing so far and the need for long-term evaluation of the effects of the vaccine relative to large control groups of unvaccinated people in order to properly assess long-term risks (if everyone is vaccinated, there will be no control group and no easy way to determine if the vaccine may be responsible for elevated cancer rates or other issues in years to come). The concern over safety is not a groundless concern. Indeed, if we are going to learn anything from the polio vaccinations of the past, it should be the very real risks of harm when a vaccine is rushed to market. The Cutter incident resulted in many unnecessary polio victims. Then, later batches of the polio vaccine were frequently contaminated with Simian Virus 40 (SV40), a virus from primates that has the characteristics of a cancer-causing virus, though it is still unclear if it has caused increased cancer in vaccinated humans (the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine has said that more detailed work is needed to determine if cancer did increase because of the vaccine). You can read about both the Cutter issue and the SV40 issue on the CDC's page that seeks to assure us that vaccines are usually safe (a proposition I generally agree with): see "Historical Vaccine Safety Concerns." 

There are also some who may have an irrational fear of vaccines, just as some may have an irrational fear of germs or, more commonly now, an irrational fear of the unvaccinated. But if we presume that we can override someone else's right to say "my body, my life" and decline the vaccine, can we also decide that they are too deplorable to have children and thus mandate sterilization? The Supreme Court once might have agreed, but that doesn't make it right. There is irrational anger being stirred up by our government and other governments (Australia comes to mind) against the dread threat of vaccinated people, even when over 70% of us have been vaccinated and many of the remainder may already have natural immunity. There is absolutely no recognition from the authorities in our government about the beneficial effect of natural immunity. To some, that makes it look like it's at least partly about political power, forcing people to get the government jab or else as a step toward expanding an avaricious governments' power over its subjects.

Given the actual data for the COVID virus, the risk that an unvaccinated person poses to the vaccinated seems quite small. Is it worth sweeping intrusions against liberty and choice? Why do we have leaders who wold shut down so much of our society for so long over a threat not vastly more dangerous than that of cancer, heart disease, and automobile accidents? We do we tolerate lockdowns that hinder the future our our children, vastly increase suicide and mental health harms, exacerbate heart disease and other health issues, without weighing the dramatic costs against the illusory gains? 

We need to recognize that everything comes with risk. Your alleged right to travel by driving your car down the road puts me at risk when I am a driver or a pedestrian. Your alleged right to drink alcohol puts me at risk when you drive or operate machinery. Your alleged right to eat lots of sugar, fat, or fast food puts me at risk because your future bad health may use up the hospital bed I need after I exercise my right to go skydiving. Your alleged right to live in a home made with wood puts me at risk because it could catch on fire and trigger a forest fire that threatens my well-being while living in my enlightened but rather dim and damp fireproof cave. As one of the few troglodytes willing to speak out, I'd like to say that freedom and personal choice are still vital for our society and for all mankind. We need to stand against medical tyranny and for the freedom of people to choose what they will allow to be injected into their bodies, even if we don't agree with their decision or their reasons. 

After being fired by the NFL for sticking to her religious values and declining an unwanted injection, Victory Boyd, according to Digital Music News, said “I’ve made peace with not being able to sing the National Anthem tomorrow for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But I have not and will not make peace with the re-emergence of segregation and discrimination. This is not okay and it’s about time that we say so.” She further explained her position in what I understand was the first news site to report her story:

“The Bible admonishes Christians to appreciate their bodies as being sacred and a temple of the Holy Spirit and to not participate in things that can defile the body or render the body dysfunctional.

“I am in prayer to make sure that the Lord guides me into the right decision concerning receiving an unproven injection with artificial properties that can potentially have a long-term effect on my reproductive health.

“If I want to take the vaccine, the decision will be between myself, my doctor, and my God. At this point, the Spirit of God is leading me to take a stand for freedom of choice.”

Thank you, Victory Boyd, for thoughtfully expressing your desire to make a decision for yourself and about your body (not the body of anyone else) based on your religious values. Your decision may differ from mine, but I believe you should have that right and that the NFL was unreasonable, perhaps even discriminatory, in requiring you to be vaccinated in order to stand alone on an open field and sing a song to America that reminds us of the need to stand together for freedom and liberty.  May we stand for freedom and against medical tyranny.

Update, 9/12/2021: While standing for the right of people to choose their own medical treatment, let me reiterate the need for more of us to be vaccinated. I'm vaccinated and have considered the data carefully, leading me to believe it is safe and effective. President Nelson's encouragement in favor of vaccination is wise counsel for the general population and I hope you'll consider it. Vaccination may be especially critical for those of you in vulnerable groups, such those who are elderly, overweight, have impaired lungs or other serious health issues. COVID is a serious illness for many, and if you are in those groups, you could easily need to be hospitalized. 

Some less vaccinated regions like Alabama are facing a crisis now as ICU beds are at capacity (some counties in northern Idaho and many other places are also struggling). A man just died in Alabama when he was turned away from numerous overwhelmed hospitals, unable to get treatment for a heart condition. That could have been prevented if more people had been vaccinated. It also could have been prevented if more people reduced their weight, improved their diet, exercised more, quit drinking and smoking, got better nutrition, and stayed off skateboards -- all problem areas that, like inadequate vaccination, could be solved by the use of force in the name of saving our lives. Rather than override the principles of liberty that our nation was founded upon and turn our nation into a police/nanny state, I prefer that we maintain our republic and use wise counsel to encourage wise behavior. 

We obviously want this crisis to be over (nearly all of us, anyway) and get back to our lives, but this is not the time to be casual about the risk of infection. Consider vaccination, which is proving fairly effective. Vaccinated or not, maintain care in terms of hand washing, avoiding densely packed gatherings, etc., and respect requirements for masking, even if you understand that mask efficacy is very low. 

A problem, of course, is that the wisdom of our government's counsel to be vaccinated is obscured in the minds of many by actions that reflect bad faith. A few days ago a sincere journalist asked a reasonable question in a White House press conference, wondering why American citizens are subject to a vaccine mandate but the numerous undocumented migrants entering our nation are not. In response, Jen Psaki snapped, "That is correct" and immediately went to another journalist for the next question. This looks like bad faith. It does not reflect the attitude of people who feel they have been asked to represent and serve the American people, but rather seems to reflect the attitude that it's our duty to humbly serve and obey them and stop asking questions. 

I've seen test data suggesting that as many as 20% of the undocumented walking across our border are COVID positive. Many southern states like Florida and Alabama have been sent large numbers of the newcomers. If COVID is such an existential threat that American liberties must be suspended and companies must be forced to terminate the vaccine hesitant (even if they already have natural immunity!), how is it possible that our government doesn't seal the border to ensure that only the COVID-free are brought in, and that they are at least encouraged or incentivized to be vaccinated? Those who see this discrepancy can't help but question the motives of our leaders, even when they give what normally should be seen as wise and thoughtful counsel. But I hope we can look past these issues and recognize that, no matter what the failures of our politicians might be,  the vaccines themselves are safe and effective, and by being vaccinated, we might save our own life and perhaps the lives of others. 



38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you have a criteria for when you will stop saying the vaccine is experimental? 1 year? 3 years? 5 years? After we have given it to 6 billion people instead of 5 billion?

Bryan said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the anonymous commenters, but I will put my name on it.

The prophet (a medical doctor) said the vaccine is safe and effective and everyone should get it. Requirements by employers to get it (or wear masks) so that ALL of their employees can be as safe as possible is the equivalent of requiring hard hats in a construction worksite. We sure hope nothing ever falls on you on a worksite, but you're going to wear this hard had just in case it does.

The logical gymnastics necessary to say otherwise make reason stare and fail to live up to the two great commandments--which clearly relegate personal freedoms to third place BEHIND loving God and loving others.

Formerly amused...I hope you find your way back.

Anonymous said...

Oh, give it a rest, Jeff. You jumped the shark so long ago

Anonymous said...

My consolation in watching this play out is that this could take out the stupid, the selfish and the stubborn. They won't be missed. It's the vulnerable that they'll take with them that I grieve for.

Jeff Lindsay said...

While many are worried about the "experimental" nature of the drug, I want to be clear that basic safety testing has been successful and thus have deleted reference to "experimental" vaccines. I replaced that language with the more accurate expression of concerns about the lack of time for long-term safety testing. That's part of what makes the drugs "experimental" for some. For some effects, such as the potential impact on cancer or reproductive health (one of Victory Boyd's concerns), it may take much more time. Vaccine development normally takes 10-15 years. It's amazing we could develop these so quickly, but it's not unreasonable to worry that what we see 5 years from now may be different than what we think we know now.

These drugs were widely recognized to be experimental by the developers less than a year ago. Is the experiment over? Are all safety issues settled? Many, yes, but it's fair to wonder about long-term effects. Vaccine development normally takes 10-15 years, and there is still the possibility after that period of unexpected long-term adverse effects that were missed. Keeping a sizable control group to help sift out cause and effect is sound methodology.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Bryan, wearing a hardhat is not a reasonable analogy to receiving an injection that can have long-term consequences on health. You can take a hardhat off at any time. Hardhats can't cause adverse reactions.

I believe basic testing is showing that the vaccines are generally safe and effective, but there are exceptions and some physicians warn patients with certain conditions that they should not get the vaccine. This must remain a matter of personal choice.

The prophet has also said that exercise and a healthy diet are important. I fully agree. But when he said that, he did not mean that it was a good idea for government agents to compel us to exercise and to determine what, when, and how much we eat. Through compulsion, a good idea can become a tool of tyranny.

The issue is not how effective vaccines are, but whether it is right for a government to force its people to receive a long-lasting medical treatment and to force companies to be agents of the state in forcing compliance upon people. It's horrifically unconstitutional. If we allow government to do this to us and our businesses, what restraints are left on government control of our lives?

Jeff Lindsay said...

Idaho overwhelmed by COVID? Look, many states have hospital systems that, to be profitable, are designed to operate with ICUs at a relatively full level. It's poor preparation, but helps the hospitals stay profitable. Look at highly vaccinated Rhode Island, now with even more natural immunity than ever after their recent July super-spreader event. As we can see at the NHS site on hospital utilization (https://protect-public.hhs.gov/pages/hospital-utilization), Rhode Island's intensive care units are at 86.6% capacity, and that's with very few COVID patients: just 11.3% of ICU beds are occupied by COVID patients. That doesn't leave much room for a surge in the pandemic.

So let's see what Idaho hospitals are reporting to the NHS. You can see the data yourself at https://protect-public.hhs.gov/pages/hospital-utilization (the NHS Hospital Utilization page). In the "Inpatient Bed Utilization by State" section, you can immediately see from the color coding that Idaho is one of the better states in terms of available beds. Click on Idaho and see that "67.86% of inpatient beds are in use.
This number is based on 53 hospitals reporting 2,542 inpatient beds in use and 3,746 total inpatient beds."

The much more scarce ICU beds are under stress, however. In the ICU Bed section, we see "89.81% of ICU beds are in use. This number is based on 52 hospitals reporting 282 ICU beds in use and 314 total ICU beds." And 56.6% of the ICU beds are being used by patients with COVID. So yes, there are more COVID cases in the ICU systems of Idaho than we have in Rhode Island. But the difference in ICU utilization is pretty small: 89.8% vs. 86.6%. But some hospitals could be full and this certainly creates problems.

Idaho's low vaccination rates does create risk and their rise in cases recently has been much like the middle of the pandemic a year ago. I hope more will get vaccinated, but we have no right to compel them to do so. But certainly they are going to have a more rapid increase in natural immunity, a topic which is utterly ignore by our health officials, in spite of sound science indicating that natural immunity still works for this disease.

James said...

Thank you for this article. It captures so many of my thoughts and concerns. My family and I caught Covid in September 2020. After about 3 days of aches and fatigue, my wife and I were pretty much back to normal. After about 24 hours my kids were back to their normal crazy selves. We feel very fortunate, but that result was not without preparation. We've worked to maintain a healthy lifestyle and were supplementing with Vitamin D through most of 2020. For as much as media is trying to pitch this as a significant threat to children, more reliable sources would suggest that the swift recovery and minor impact to my children is typical for that age group with this particular virus...compared to RSV and weeks of hacking, Covid was a walk in the park for them, but I digress. As you mentioned, it's concerning that there has been no mention at all of a "natural immunity passport". How many recovered would be happily willing to get their blood drawn and processed so they could be told, "Your antibodies, b and t cells are sufficient to protect you and those around you"? I know I would! And with the recent Israel study and others, we know it isn't just sufficient, but in most cases even superior to the protection given by the vaccine. If it isn't about health, seeing as there's been no plan to "Make America Healthy Again" or even supply vitamin D to ask risk groups...and if it isn't about protection, seeing as there's been no inclusion of the naturally immunized...then it seems compliance is the goal. Why is that? Is the ultimate goal to just wipe out the control group? While 12k deaths following vaccination pales in comparison to 650k deaths following Covid, that is still an astounding number. To put things in perspective, if we consider all vaccine reactions since VAERS began, we get about 120 reports a year of vaccine-related death. We are now in September and seeing 100x that amount. 100x! Now, VAERS should be evaluated critically, but that's the case for any year. Pandemrix adverse events weren't close to this rate before it got pulled due to safety concerns. Why the change now, especially considering the immense population that isn't high risk and/or already recovered? Anyway, I appreciate you visiting all sides of the story. Thank you for standing for free agency. God bless. 🙏

Jeff Lindsay said...

Thanks, James! Yes, the hysteria around COVID has led parents I know to be angry at those of us encouraging education for children because they "prefer their children alive, thank you." And it has led teachers to oppose restarting school out of fear that they will die, even though there is no evidence showing teachers getting infected by children at school. Schools that have been running in Sweden, in Taiwan, in mnay nations and states and in many private schools all over show that schools are safe places for kids, but we have put so many at risk in many ways by closing down the schools in the name of safety.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Bryan, back to your hardhat analogy. I've been to many sites and factories where protective equipment is required. But as soon as you step away from the danger zone into, say, an office or hallway, the equipment comes off. And there are those who may have sensitivity to wearing some equipment such as gloves. Accommodations are sometimes made for them in various ways with specialized gear or reassigning them to other duties.

Your analogy would be more applicable if there were a government mandate that all employees had to wear their hardhat 24/7 regardless of where they were. Maybe even surgically and permanently attached. Might be a good idea, but should we force all to do this?

Anonymous said...

Jeff 7:52 writes (my emphasis and ellipses), The issue is not how effective vaccines are, but whether it is right for a government to force its people to receive a long-lasting medical treatment and to force companies to be agents of the state in forcing compliance upon people. It's horrifically unconstitutional. If we allow government to do this ... what restraints are left on government control of our lives?

Horrifically unconstitutional? Nope. As a workplace safety measure, the vaccine/testing requirement is clearly within the regulatory ambit of OSHA, and OSHA is constitutional under the interstate commerce clause of Article I, Section 8.*

So in answer to Jeff's question, "If we allow government to do this to us and our businesses, what restraints are left?" one can safely say, "All of the restraints that were there before."

The executive's exercise of authority given to him by Congress doesn't erode our constitutional protections one bit. It might limit our freedom, just as speed limits do, but limitations on freedom are not, in and of themselves, erosions of constitutional restraint.

As for Victory Boyd, all I can say is martyrdom isn't what it used to be.

-- OK

* There's plenty of interesting jurisprudence on this question for those interested in actually understanding this stuff.

Anonymous said...

What religions deny vaccination as a matter of doctrine? The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints doesn't and the Area Presidency in CA made the following statement to guide members in the state which has instituted mandatory vaccines for some categories of workers:

No church official can sign any kind of document supporting the notion that church doctrine/teaching is opposed to vaccination or that the church is opposed to vaccination mandates,” the letter reads, in part. “As to the former, the opposite is true [the church not only supports but also encourages vaccination]; as to the latter, the Brethren [top officials] have not taken a position.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:09, your point about doctrine reminds me of something that happened many years ago when I took a college film course.

The instructor was reviewing the syllabus, which included an R-rated film. A student whom I knew to be LDS raised her hand and said something like "I can't watch The Lives of Others. It's rated R and that's against my religion."

The instructor looked at her and said, "Really? I've never heard of a religion that gets its doctrine from the Motion Picture Association of America. Sorry, but no substitutions."

Luckily that bit of snark and the smattering of laughter it occasioned did not seem to offend the student. She stayed in the class, watched The Lives of Others with the rest of us, and found it to be a wonderful film (as I trust anyone reading this who has seen it will agree).

-- OK

Rob said...

You guys watch the BYU vs. Utah game tonight? Yeah, not a soul in the stadium was wearing a mask. Right on- that's how you respond to the fear mongering thats warping people's minds in this country!

We need to get over this already.

Jeff Lindsay said...

I just added this update at the end of my post:

While standing for the right of people to choose their own medical treatment, let me reiterate the need for more of us to be vaccinated. I'm vaccinated and have considered the data carefully, leading me to believe it is safe and effective. President Nelson's encouragement in favor of vaccination is wise counsel for the general population and I hope you'll consider it. Vaccination may be especially critical for those of you in vulnerable groups, such those who are elderly, overweight, have impaired lungs or other serious health issues. COVID is a serious illness for many, and if you are in those groups, you could easily need to be hospitalized.

Some less vaccinated regions like Alabama are facing a crisis now as ICU beds are at capacity (some counties in northern Idaho and many other places are also struggling). A man just died in Alabama when he was turned away from numerous overwhelmed hospitals, unable to get treatment for a heart condition. That could have been prevented if more people had been vaccinated. It also could have been prevented if more people reduced their weight, improved their diet, exercised more, quit drinking and smoking, got better nutrition, and stayed off skateboards -- all problem areas that, like inadequate vaccination, could be solved by the use of force in the name of saving our lives. Rather than override the principles of liberty that our nation was founded upon and turn our nation into a police/nanny state, I prefer that we maintain our republic and use wise counsel to encourage wise behavior.

We obviously want this crisis to be over (nearly all of us, anyway) and get back to our lives, but this is not the time to be casual about the risk of infection. Consider vaccination, which is proving fairly effective. Vaccinated or not, let's maintain care in terms of hand washing, avoiding densely packed gatherings, etc., and respect requirements for masking, even if you understand that mask efficacy is very low.

A problem, of course, is that the wisdom of our government's counsel to be vaccinated is obscured in the minds of many by actions that reflect bad faith. A few days ago a sincere journalist asked a reasonable question in a White House press conference, wondering why American citizens are subject to a vaccine mandate but the numerous undocumented migrants entering our nation are not. In response, Jen Psaki snapped, "That is correct" and immediately went to another journalist for the next question. This looks like bad faith. It does not reflect the attitude of people who feel they have been asked to represent and serve the American people, but rather seems to reflect the attitude that it's our duty to humbly serve and obey them and stop asking questions.

I've seen test data suggesting that as many as 20% of the undocumented walking across our border are COVID positive. Many southern states like Florida and Alabama have been sent large numbers of the newcomers. If COVID is such an existential threat that American liberties must be suspended and companies must be forced to terminate the vaccine hesitant (even if they already have natural immunity!), how is it possible that our government doesn't seal the border to ensure that only the COVID-free are brought in, and that they are at least encouraged or incentivized to be vaccinated? Those who see this discrepancy can't help but question the motives of our leaders, even when they give what normally should be seen as wise and thoughtful counsel. But I hope we can look past these issues and recognize that, no matter what the failures of our politicians might be, the vaccines themselves are safe and effective, and by being vaccinated, we might save our own life and perhaps the lives of others.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, you wrote that now it's not just the rights of one black woman that will [be] trampled on.

Can you please explain which of Victory Boyd's rights the NFL trampled on?

Thanks!

-- OK

Rob said...

Jeff,
I don't think the correct answer is just for more of us to get vaccinated. Looking at numbers now coming out of England, it appears that you are more likely to get infected if you fall between the ages of 40-79 and are fully vaccinated.
Studies also show that the fully vaccinated carry the same viral load of the virus as the unvaccinated. So it's not about protecting others by being vaccinated. Our approach has been all wrong with this pandemic response. Rather than trying to vaccinate everyone we need to identify those most at risk and do what we can to help them stay safe and be healthy. We should be doing better at properly defining what people really die from rather than just lumping those with comorbidities as all dying from covid-19. We should be doing more to study natural immunity and testing for that in our society and not vaccinating them as they are better off with their natural immune response going forward.
We really haven't talked about what we really need to eradicate this pandemic. We need to stop sinning and invite God back into pur lives and improve our faith. God is in charge, not the CDC or the WHO. We need to live by faith, not by the arm of flesh and worldly understanding. How come we aren't talking about why God is chastising us and for a time shut down all ordinances and covenants on the face of the earth? If we really want to end this pandemic we maybe should stop our sinful ways and turn to God in faith. And, since the last church wide fast, we haven't really made mention of another fast. And, we aren't really asking the right questions in regards to what we should be fasting for. Maybe we should fast and ask God to forgive us of pur prideful natures and forgive us for our blackness.
We already know, as has been prophesied, that pestilence will come and afflict the wicked. So, if we are afflicted with this pestilence, then add two and two together and realize we are wicked and we should repent and change. And, as for the righteous amongst the wicked, if we live by faith we will be guided and stand in holy places and be not moved. This literally means we shall not fear and shall not fall. It's God who protects us, not the arm of flesh.

Rob said...

Error in typing, spell check but that should of said "slackness" instead of "blackness"

Anonymous said...

Rob writes that Studies also show that the fully vaccinated carry the same viral load of the virus as the unvaccinated.

That is not true. What's true is that some studies show that fully vaccinated people who get infected carry the same viral load as unvaccinated people who get infected.

But fully vaccinated people are much less likely to get infected in the first place. That's why, despite the comparable viral load of those infected, vaccination still slows the spread of the virus. That's why the studies do not show that "our approach has been all wrong."

It seems unbelievable that extremely basic things like this still have to be pointed out, but here we are.

-- OK

Rob said...

Anonymous,
There is a lot of context missing from various studies. Yes, it is true that those with breakthrough infections carry as much viral load as the unvaccinated who get infected. What isn't fully known, or is missing context are those who are unvaccinated yet have natural immunity from a previous infection. Studies out of Israel have shown that someone who has natural immunity has less of a chance of reinfection as those who are fully vaccinated. I think more studies and open discussion needs to be had about natural immunity and it's risks and/or benefits.

Jeff Lindsay said...

OK, do you see any restraints in what government can do in your worldview? Any fundamental boundaries between the Constitutional Republic that was established over 2 centuries ago with extreme restrains on government power and the preservation of individual rights and liberties versus, say, the authoritarian rule of one man or one party that we saw under Stalin, Mao, Castro, or any of the countless kings and dictators that have managed to grab power? Your philosophy seems to see one minor clause in the Constitution as an excuse to violate all other principles. So since the government has grabbed added power to require companies to make sure proper protective equipment is worn in some situations, for example, it's just more of the same, nothing to worry about, when it requires private companies to compel workers to receive a vaccination that may have lifelong consequences -- even if workers already have natural immunity (so much for following science)?

I suppose you also cheer Biden's moratorium on rent (if not, please let me know so I can better respect your intelligence), blatantly contrary to the principles of the Constitution, laughably decreed by the CDC with not even the semblance of propriety or lawfulness, and now that he's doing that, it's just one short step to welcoming government seizure of the apartment buildings from the bankrupt landlords or decrees telling us we can and can't do with any item of property.

And now that government provides free housing for people, it's only a short step forward to provide free housing in remote camps for deplorables who don't want compulsory injections. In fact, here we can simply rely on the precedent from the racist President and great icon of the Left, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, without Constitutional authority, put Japanese Americans into concentration camps for the public welfare during WW II. We did it before, so doing more of that, just rebuilt better, is AOK. More of the same. Nothing to worry about.

We can also rely on another precedent from the administration of that same progressive, the Tuskegee Experiment that began in 1932, which must show us, of course, that it's OK to withhold medical treatment from deplorables, though this time it need not be based on skin color, but could just be the mentally feeble again -- you know, anyone who disagrees with your beloved party. Over and over I see those on the left cheering for or yearning for the deaths of those who aren't vaccinated, and the deaths of their political opponents. Even here, there was the shameful comment: "My consolation in watching this play out is that this could take out the stupid, the selfish and the stubborn. They won't be missed." Revolting. But it's how the Left is trained to think.

Numerous abuses of personal freedom have already happened at various times in the past -- from Nixon's outrageous wage and price controls, putting people in concentration camps, forcing sterilization of the "feeble minded," to one man issuing 72 executive orders in one day without a scrap of Constitutional authority, to debasing the currency contrary to the Constitution, to spying on normal citizens -- it's all been done before, to some degree. So if that's your standard, are there any restraints that could stop us from being a purely totalitarian and fascist state? Anything goes? Maybe that's why everything is going.

Lily said...

So I assume that since you are against the government's interference in personal medical choices, the recent Texas Abortion Law appalls you too?

Anonymous said...

Jeff, when you write things like this, are you serious? --

OK, do you see any restraints in what government can do in your worldview? Any fundamental boundaries between the Constitutional Republic that was established over 2 centuries ago with extreme restraints on government power and the preservation of individual rights and liberties versus, say, the authoritarian rule of one man or one party that we saw under Stalin, Mao, Castro, or any of the countless kings and dictators that have managed to grab power?

Stalin? Mao? No fundamental boundaries? Are you serious? To give just one example of such a "fundamental boundary: the Supreme Court recently ruled (correctly, in my view) that the eviction moratorium was unconstitutional, and the Biden administration is abiding by that ruling. Last time I checked, Biden has not sent federal troops around to prevent evictions at gunpoint. Biden is not even Andrew Jackson, much less Josef Stalin. And if our elected representatives in Congress were to amend OSHA so as to outlaw mandatory covid vaccination in the workplace, do you really think Biden would not respect such an amended law? Of course he would. Checks and balances seem to be working just fine, Jeff.

In addition to your Mao/Stalin comparison I'd like to respond to your misapprehension of the original Constitution. You might recall that the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation, which it was widely agreed gave the federal government too little power. The Constitution was an attempt to expand federal power. Its purposes in doing so were decidedly not just to "preserv[e] individual rights and liberties" but also, if I may quote the document itself, to "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." That bit about liberty is just one among several purposes. I can usually tell I'm dealing with an ideologue when they reduce the entirety of the Constitution to merely individual liberty.

And yes, of course I see constraints on what the government can do. It can't shut down Fox News, or even The Blaze. It can't imprison undocumented immigrants without due process of law, etc., etc., etc.

Then there's this:

Your philosophy seems to see one minor clause in the Constitution as an excuse to violate all other principles. So since the government has grabbed added power to require companies to make sure proper protective equipment is worn in some situations, for example, it's just more of the same....

No, that is not my philosophy. My philosophy is that when the legislature exercises a power granted to it by the Constitution (by passing a law like OSHA), and then the executive faithfully executes that law as the Constitution and his oath require him to do (by reducing workers' exposure to a dangerous virus), it is not a "power grab" at all.

Also, the workplace vaccine mandate is based not just on the Commerce Clause (which is not a "minor" clause, there being no such thing in the Constitution). It's based also on the Necessary and Proper clause.

I have a quick question for you. You've been going on quite a bit about federal power, but I'm wondering -- do you believe a state could permissibly require a workplace vaccine mandate?

Oh, I almost forgot: could you please tell me which of Victory Boyd's rights has been trampled on?

-- OK

Warner Woodworth said...

I'm going to try and be more "civil" than this guy Jeff. His words are uncivil and death-causing. No real Latter-day Saint should accept, to say nothing of, promote, the siren temptation to counter mask mandates and vaccines against COVID. Thankfully, after America suffered from massive ignorance from an orange-faced dictator, our government is now doing a lot, as are many leaders around the world. Thank you Joe Biden, for having empathy for pandemic victims. Like our LDS First Presidency, masks and shots are being encouraged, even mandated by all true leaders. That includes a smart, educated and inspired First Presidency who tell us in no uncertain terms to be smart, even to be our "brother's keeper." But having a civil war among Latter-day Saints because of lies from GOP extremists, hate speech on disinformation sources like Faux TV, OAN, etc. is painful to watch as they have manipulated millions of uneducated church members and other "Americans" to be deceived. Jeff and his apparent "religious" leaders (Pence, Cruz, Abbott, DeSantis, and more) are even endangering innocent children, school kids. Too many LDS leaders have died: Mission presidents, bishops and stake presidents, Relief Society leaders, missionaries, temple presidents, etc. Yet such deceivers suggest the right to inflict death and suffering is in their "constitution." They clearly want to reject the U.S. Constitution and our democracy. But committed LDS people will support our prophets. We actually believe them. In your view should we simply give up? That's what the Trump administration did, sure. Thankfully, the Biden leadership has save hundreds of thousands since. But the crazies who deny all science and medicine apparently don't care about their neighbors, even their own kids. Hate has destroyed many societies and the fake Mormons, cultists, QAnon supporters, et al are doing their best to foster genocide.

Anonymous said...

Ok says:

“when the legislature exercises a power granted to it by the Constitution (by passing a law like OSHA), and then the executive faithfully executes that law as the Constitution and his oath require him to do (by reducing workers' exposure to a dangerous virus), it is not a ‘power grab’ at all.”

What about when “the executive” sets aside his oath for a time. Would that be an attempt at a political power grab?

“Well, look, the courts made it clear that the existing moratorium was not constitutional; it wouldn’t stand.  And they made that clear back in, I guess, July 15th or July 18th. “

The bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster. Number one.  But there are several key scholars who think that it may and it’s worth the effort.  But the present — you could not — the Court has already ruled on the present eviction moratorium. “

“But, at a minimum, by the time it gets litigated, it will probably give some additional time while we’re getting that $45 billion out to people”

Does this sound like someone who will “to the best of [his] ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”?! He knew a moratorium was found to be unconstitutional, but insisted on creating one again for political gain. To me this is a violation of his oath and, as a result, an impeachable offense.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Anon 9:57, I think the key fact is that once the Supreme Court ruled against him, Biden complied with the ruling.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

Yes, the second time. He still completely set aside his oath until he was forced to do what he was told. Saying that he complied is like saying Trump abdicated the presidency.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:51, at this point all I can hope for is that you'll take a few minutes to read SCOTUS' actual decision. It might help you better understand the history and see why the CDC was acting in good faith on the wording of the relevant statute. You might even come away thinking that Breyer, in his dissent, laid out the better argument.

It's always best to go to the source.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, Jeff.

https://www.wpr.org/we-all-have-be-part-solution-wisconsin-hospitals-filling-covid-19-cases-rise

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link OK. I agree, the source should be the source.

Several problems with the dissent:

The first, and main problem, with the dissent is that it fails to address the per curriculum’s assertion that it is the legislative branch’s responsibility to enact laws for the public good, not a government agency’s by fiat. Dictators create mandates (through government agencies), legislators create laws as representatives of the people. Congress had the power and responsibility to create legislation to address the problem (if indeed there was one), Biden, through the CDC, did not.

The dissent’s first point tries to expand the definition of the Public Health Service Act from the CDC taking steps to contain and control disease. They claim that it grants proactive powers to prevent the possibility of encountering a disease. In short, the PHSA addresses those who are sick, but the moratorium is aimed at those who are well. The new moratorium assumes a generalized Covid boogey man and promotes a passive resistance, rather than addressing specific prevention measures like the PHSA language does (fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, etc).

Their second point states that “the balance of equities strongly favors leaving the stay in place.” The case and the ultimate decision is not about equity, but about whether or not a government agency has authority to create policy that limits the rights of property owners. The Constitution clearly limits the government’s authority to seize property without just compensation, but the moratorium, in effect, grants use of the property to the renter with little or no compensation to the property owner.

I use the term “create” above as this moratorium is clearly different than the 1920 precedent cited in their first dissenting point which states the “Health Department . . . instruct[s] all landlords that no person suffering from [influenza and pneumonia] can be removed under any condition whatever without the sanction of the Health Department.” This puts limits on landlords introducing persons with active infections into the population at large, not limiting landlords from evicting healthy individuals who can’t or choose not to pay their rent. This relates back to the problem with their first point—active vs passive measures.

Their third dissenting point is problematic in that it relies on possibilities, not data. They provide a quote from the CDC which states (my italics), “[a] surge in evictions could lead to the immediate and significant movement of large numbers of persons from lower density to higher density housing.” This quote relies a very large assumption namely, that those who will be evicted currently live in low density housing.

They also state that “The CDC invokes studies finding nationally over 433,000 cases and over 10,000 deaths may be traced to the lifting of state eviction moratoria” (emphasis added). Rather than relying on concrete information, the dissenters rely on possibilities. Fearing what’s possible puts limits on the present and handicaps the future.

All this leads me to conclude that the Per Curiam stance is the stronger of the two and more in line with constitutional intent. It also demonstrates that my original assessment of Biden’s intent is correct: he set aside his oath to defend the constitution for political gain. He knows there are many more voters who rent property than who own property and he’s attempting to buy their votes. It reminds me of the quote from Alexander Fraser Tytler:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:04, not much time to respond today, but I'm glad you're starting to exercise better citizenship by engaging with better sources. If my replies prompt you to read better sources from here on, I will have accomplished something.

Just a few quick comments. First, when Congress passes laws that instruct the president to create agencies whose charge is to create regulations designed to carry out the purposes of the law, that's not dictatorship, it's the elected representatives of We the People making laws. How can we tell it's not dictatorship? Because when Congress repeals/amends such a law, or when SCOTUS strikes down such a law/regulation, the president complies. Dictators do not comply.

Second, laws and regulations quite regularly rely on possibilities. Think of seatbelt laws, speed limits, FDA regulations, drunk driving laws, etc. It's possible that someone could drive home inebriated from a bar every night and never have an accident. Drunk driving laws are based on the statistical observation that a person driving home drunk is more likely to have an accident, much as a family evicted from their home is more likely to spread the coronavirus.

Third, your final quote is a classic slippery slope argument that is belied by the historical fact that this particular slope is not very slippery. From your reply above:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.... [T]he majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."

History tells us otherwise. History shows us that, when the voters feel spending has increased too much, the majority will vote for the candidate who promises to rein it in. We've seen this happen again and again in all the western liberal democracies. Think Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Stephen Harper, etc.

But enough. As I said above, I'm glad you're starting to engage with the actual issues. (Court documents are great for this purpose, since judges typically demand the law and the facts. Lawyers who submit rumor, innuendo, and political rhetoric will suffer for it, as we've seen in the sad cases of Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and Lin Wood.) Liberal democracies are better off, I think, when their citizens are better informed and their disagreements are disagreements over real issues informed by facts rather than phantoms informed by cheap political rhetoric. If you continue reading more good sources and less of whatever junk you've been getting your hyperbolic canards from, the world should become a better place.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

Ok states:

“If you continue reading more good sources and less of whatever junk you've been getting your hyperbolic canards from, the world should become a better place.”

Your condescension is unbecoming. Interesting that you resort to hyperbolic canards as you deride them.

If you’ll note, the only “hyperbolic canard” I quoted was from a Q and A session involving Joe Biden, POTUS. His words were the only ones I used. They were copied from the White House’s official transcript. As a general rule, I don’t read political rhetoric, but it happened to show up on this blog. All I needed to know, Mr. Biden told me (to paraphrase): “I know this policy was previously found unconstitutional but I’m going to pursue virtually the same policy and wait for the slow wheels of the judiciary to turn to stop me. In the mean time I’m hoping to pass politically beneficial legislation.” He didn’t disguise his actions. He blatantly pursued an agenda he knew was unconstitutional. He expressed this openly in a press conference.

“a family evicted from their home is more likely to spread the coronavirus.”

I’m not sure this statement is true. What about eviction inherently makes one more likely to spread a disease, especially if the family is not infected at the time of eviction? Does an eviction notice come laced with active virus? Aren’t you making unfounded assumptions here?

Also, the drunk driver and evicted person are not equivalent examples. To be close to equivalent, the evicted person would need to have been infected before being turned loose. The moratorium made no such distinction. Another more equivalent comparison, using your car analogy, would be for the government to put a moratorium on Uber, Lyft, or cab companies from collecting fares. The justification would be that people who can’t hire a vehicle are more likely to have to take crowded public transportation or walk on crowded streets and become infected with Covid. You’ll note that, as the Per Curiam decision states, the dissent’s type of reasoning can justify just about any action from the CDC.

I don’t think the quote I ended with should be taken literally. It was a bit of an exaggeration to make a point. However, the last candidate to run on a fiscally responsible platform and actually win was Bill Clinton. He was also the only president with a budget surplus for his term in 92 years (Calvin Coolidge was the last). The point is, President Biden used one of the arms of his government to harm a small group of citizens in order to benefit a larger group of citizens (a group which is likely to—and even more likely to now—vote for him and his party) without legal justification, and knowing he had no legal justification.

Anonymous said...

“when Congress passes laws that instruct the president to create agencies whose charge is to create regulations designed to carry out the purposes of the law, that's not dictatorship, it's the elected representatives of We the People making laws.”

This is a true statement but doesn’t do a good job of characterizing what President Biden did. His regulations were twice found to not “carry out the purposes of the law.” Blatant disregard of law and the constitution are indeed characteristics of a dictator. This is not to say that Biden has designs of ultimately being a dictator, but that his behavior in this case was dictatorial.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:19 writes of my earlier claim, This is a true statement…. I appreciate the acknowledgement.

Anon 9:19 continues: ... but [it] doesn't do a good job of characterizing what President Biden did. His regulations were twice found to not "carry out the purposes of the law." Blatant disregard of law and the Constitution are indeed characteristics of a dictator.

This grossly misrepresents what happened. Biden has followed the law every step of the way. (Anon should remember that if a court decides a policy is unconstitutional, but then stays its decision, the policy may legally remain in place. Continuing to implement a policy while the stay remains in place is not "blatant disregard of law.")

It's a bit complicated, so let's recap.

An early version of the CDC moratorium was found unconstitutional by a lower court, which stayed its ruling pending appeal. That means the Biden administration could legally continue the moratorium, and Biden did so. Nothing dictatorial about that. No "blatant disregard of law and the Constitution" in that.

The Alabama Association of Realtors then appealed the stay to SCOTUS, hoping that SCOTUS would throw out the stay (which would make the lower court ruling enforceable and end the moratorium).

SCOTUS then decided not to end the stay. (Kavanaugh and others felt that the moratorium was almost certainly unconstitutional, but because it was set to end in a few weeks, and for other practical reasons, he said the stay should remain in place.)

With SCOTUS's decision not to lift the stay, the law allowed Biden to keep the moratorium in place until July 31, and he did so. Then, in accordance with the law, Biden let the moratorium expire.

Again, no "blatant disregard of law and the Constitution" in that. Biden did what the law said he could do.

Next, Biden instructed the CDC to devise a different eviction moratorium that would have a chance of surviving SCOTUS. The CDC imposed this different moratorium on August 3. This version was more narrowly tailored than the first, with the hope that this change would bring the policy more in line with the CDC's acknowledged authority and thus make it acceptable to the court.

This is an important point, so let me repeat it. The new policy was modified specifically with the goal of passing muster with the Supreme Court -- one might even say, with REGARD for the Supreme Court. How doing something with literal regard for the law amounts to "blatant disregard" for the law is beyond me.

Anyway, the Alabama realtors immediately returned to court, and this time, in its August 26 decision, SCOTUS ruled to lift the stay, and Biden, in a decidedly undictatorial way, immediately stopped enforcing the moratorium.

Let me repeat that: as soon as the law required him to do so, Biden stopped enforcing the moratorium. Again, how this amounts to "blatant disregard for the law" is beyond me.

At this point I suppose Anon 9:19 will cite Biden's remarks of August 3:

I don't know. There are a few scholars who say it will [be found constitutional] and others who say it's not likely to. But, at a minimum, by the time it gets litigated, it will probably give some additional time while we're getting that $45 billion out to people who are, in fact, behind in the rent and don't have the money.

Three points here. First, tweaking a rejected policy in this way is perfectly legal and utterly common. Second, I fail to see what's dictatorial about Biden saying, in essence, "We might win, but even if we lose we'll have gotten something." That's not an admission of corrupt intent, it's just a statement of fact. The "we might win" part alone is enough to legitimate the attempt. And third, the revised policy found support from three of the justices; it was not so blatantly unconstitutional as to be rejected 9-0.

— OK

Anonymous said...

“ This version was more narrowly tailored than the first, with the hope that this change would bring the policy more in line with the CDC's acknowledged authority and thus make it acceptable to the court.”

This is BS, plain and simple.

Seems like we’ve come full circle here. Refer back to my 9/13/21 @ 9:57 post with quotes from Biden acknowledging that the previous policy was unconstitutional, then acknowledging that the general consensus was his new policy was unconstitutional as well. Then refer to my comments about likely motivation for these moves. It seems ridiculous apologetic arguments aren’t limited only to the LDS community.

Anonymous said...

Also, just because things can be done doesn’t mean they should be done. The power grab of any president who uses policy in place of legislation has overstepped his bounds and should be censured. The legislative branch needs to be more reactive in dealing with this behavior and take back the control it has let slip to the executive. Unfortunately they are generally so busy in-fighting and being corrupted that they can’t get much done at all.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Anon. You think it's BS, I think it's not. But the one thing we can't reasonably call it is "dictatorial" or "tyrannical," because, as I said, dictators and tyrants do not shape their policies in order to comply with the judgments of an independent court. Nor do they obey the rulings of that court every single time it requires them to.

Again: this is a case in which the executive is implementing the law as he understands it. That's his job. And whenever the court has overruled him, he has done what the court has required of him.

Every. Single. Time.

Also, of course, any time it wants to Congress can amend the law to take away the Surgeon General's authority, and there's no reason to think the Surgeon General would not comply.

This is decidedly not tyranny. It is constitutional checks and balances at work. So everyone should just relax.

For anyone still interested in the question of whether the eviction moratorium really was authorized by Congressional legislation,feel free to look at the relevant text from the "Regulations to control communicable diseases" section of the Public Health Service Act:

The Surgeon General, with the approval of the Secretary, is authorized to make and enforce such regulations as in his judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the States or possessions, or from one State or possession into any other State or possession.

Breyer said that this means just what it says: "such regulations as in his judgment are necessary" means "such regulations as in his judgment are necessary." In this reading, the plain reading of the text prevails: the only limitation is the judgment of the Surgeon General. (Yes, this confers tremendous power on the executive branch, but as I keep saying, Congress still has the authority to take that power back any time it wants to. All it has to do is amend the Public Health Service Act.)

Kavanaugh said no, the Surgeon General may only issue regulations directly relevant to the activities specified in the law's next sentence:

For purposes of carrying out and enforcing such regulations, the Surgeon General may provide for such inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, destruction of animals or articles found to be so infected or contaminated as to be sources of dangerous infection to human beings, and other measures, as in his judgment may be necessary.

Does this list -- "inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, destruction of animals" -- place a limit on the kind of regulations the Surgeon General may issue? Kavanaugh says yes: the Surgeon General's rulemaking power is limited to these kinds of sanitary measures.

Breyer says no, pointing to the words that come immediately after the specifications in the list: "... and other measures, as in his judgment may be necessary."

I'm with Breyer. Your mileage may vary. But the idea that Breyer's reading is patently wrong, and that the unconstitutionality of the moratorium is thus a slam dunk, is untenable.

There's a very good case to be made that Breyer is correct, and that his reading would prevail if SCOTUS ever took up the question less hurriedly, holding full hearings on it and listening to the best and fullest arguments on both sides, and then discussing the case at length among themselves before issuing their ruling. But that never happened. The court ruled only on the question of the stay. Please keep this in mind when people say that "SCOTUS twice found the moratorium unconstitutional." SCOTUS did no such thing. It ruled only that Health and Human Services was not likely to win on the merits.

-- OK