President Joe Biden announced Sept. 9, 2021 a series of proposals to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, including imposing a rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their workers be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. This announced was coupled with a statement by President Biden that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing an emergency temporary standard directed at private-sector businesses with 100 or more employees that is estimated to impact over 80 million workers.
However, negative responses ensued among American people. According to a research institute Research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 28 percent of employed Americans say they would not get the Covid-19 vaccine, even at the price of losing their jobs for violating the policy. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee, said to the public that the “president has no business issuing a burdensome vaccine regulation that will further harm overworked and struggling business owners.” Please visit https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/federal-vaccine-mandate.aspx for more information about the Presidential announcement and social responses to the mandatory vaccination plan.
On September 23, 2021, the “Par of the American-Chinese Lawyers” discussed the Presidential order and its impact on both the public and private sectors. Attorney Vivien Wang focused on the important constitutional issue as to whether such governmental mandates exceeded its constitutional power. Vivien provided a brief review of the two constitutional precedents, Jacobson v. the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905) and Zucht v. King, 260 U.S. 174 (1922); she also gave a detailed explanation of the Constitutional clauses and federal statutes to clarify the various legal sources available for the constitutional justification for the President’s vaccination mandates.
In the final analysis, Vivien emphasized the fact that the federal government has been granted broad power to issue legal rules in the administrative matters by the U.S. Constitution and the judiciary interpretations by the Supreme Court—such an expansion of legislative power is a natural result of the need of the executive branch to respond to emergent social events or local regulatory needs. Although the tradition of respecting individual liberty is deeply rooted in the U.S., the rapid social development and increasing public safety challenges do provide a reason for an extensive power of legislation within the executive branches in public health issues. We shall have a rational and fair attitude to evaluate such an expansive tendency in legislative power in the administrative agencies of the government.