Supreme Court May Halt Covid Rules – Except For Flights

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Supreme Court May Halt Covid Rules – Except For Flights
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Supreme Court May Halt Covid Rules – Except For Flights; Vaccination-To-Fly Rule Would Avoid Legal Problems, Yet Be Effective

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Joe Biden’s Covid Rules May Be In Trouble

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 7, 2022) – This morning’s arguments before the Supreme Court suggest that at least one if not both of President’s Joe Biden‘s Covid rules – his most effective weapons for fighting the pandemic by getting millions more vaccinated – may be in trouble and might not survive, suggests public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

For example, the New York Times is reporting that “Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority seemed skeptical on Friday that the Biden administration has the legal power to mandate that the nation’s large employers require workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or to undergo frequent testing.” Similarly, Politico said “most of the conservative justices sounded sympathetic to business interests and Republican-led states trying to block the rules.”

That why Biden should – as a backup Plan B, and to fulfill his promise to use all his powers to protect the public – consider a rule which largely avoids the many legal problems these Covid rules have raised; a requirement which has worked well in at least two countries without problems, and is much less intrusive than vaccine requirements now in effect in many U.S. cities and foreign countries, argues Banzhaf, whose prior suggestions for fighting the pandemic are now in effect.

He suggests a rule, supported by Dr. Anthony and many other experts, requiring adult airline passengers to be vaccinated, or to provide proof of a recent negative COVID test. Such a rule would provide additional necessary protection for airline passengers, while also creating a strong additional incentive for people to be vaccinated.

Challengers to the large-business vaccine-or-test mandate argued persuasively that it went far beyond OSHA’s authority over sudden emergency grave dangers in the workplace, and was primarily adopted only to pressure about two-thirds of the private sector to get vaccinated so as to reduce risks largely occurring beyond workplaces.

Similar arguments were made against the HHS rule which requires health care workers at facilities covered by Medicare and Medicaid – over 10 million – to be fully vaccinated unless they qualify for narrow medical or religious exemptions.

But an agency which has required passengers to wear cloth masks while flying – which even the CDC now agrees are largely ineffective – in order to protect other passengers from becoming infected with Covid can certainly adopt a vaccination requirement which many experts say would provide much greater protection for the same at-risk population from exactly the same risk, suggests Banzhaf.

Vaccination Requirement

Indeed, an agency which has adopted now-settled Covid rules requiring passengers to wear masks, and to refrain from smoking for lengthy periods or consuming their own alcoholic beverages, and also requires them to provide governmental issued photo identification, not carry many arguably dangerous items with them, subject themselves to intrusive inspections, and to obey all crew instructions or face prison, can certainly also require vaccination, he argues.

Such a rule would also fall squarely within the federal government’s authority to regulate interstate commerce, and would be far less intrusive than Covid rules which threaten the employment of most Americans.

Moreover, its adoption now would be more than justified by the greatly increased risk posed to airline passengers by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

While requiring all but the youngest passengers to be fully vaccinated would provide the greatest protection, such a rule could do one or more of the following if necessary to reduce public opposition, the professor suggests:

  1. Apply the rule only to adults, thereby exempting older children eligible to be vaccinated, but as to whom vaccination rates are much lower than with adults.
  2. Provide, at least initially, that passengers need to have received only one shot – thereby permitting them to change their minds quickly to fly in the event or an emergency or for other sudden need.
  3. Treat passengers who have recovered from Covid the same as those who have been vaccinated – as dozens of countries do in enforcing their often-more-intrusive vaccination requirements.

Banzhaf has reminded Biden’s Covid advisors that Canada and France have required passengers to be vaccinated even on domestic flights, and that proof of a recent and expensive negative Covid test is required on most international flights.

Since airlines and the TSA already store large amounts of information about passengers, and based upon experience with Canada’s and France’s requirements, experts have debunked the argument that requiring a showing of vaccination status would unduly delay flights, Banzhaf maintains.

Especially since Fauci has added to his support to the growing demands for a vaccination requirement to fly rule, many other experts, as well as dozens of editorials, have called for the same requirement.

For example, the Boston Globe recently said: “It’s time to require vaccinations for domestic flights. If proof of vaccination will soon be required in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in Boston (as it already is in other cities), why not airplanes?”

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