The Constitution and vaccinations
SUMMARY: Via Marci Hamilton is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania “the Constitution is not a suicide pact guaranteeing a right to harm others. The government has latitude to protect citizens from deadly conditions, especially when the science supporting vaccination is so clear”.
Prof Hamilton goes on to say, “One frequently heard pushback against vaccine mandates is that there is a “constitutional right” to choose whether to be vaccinated or not for adults and a right to determine whether children can be vaccinated. That is a non-starter in the midst of a pandemic. The Constitution is not a suicide pact guaranteeing a right to harm others. The government has latitude to protect citizens from deadly conditions, especially when the science supporting vaccination is so clear”.
With respect to children, parents do not have carte blanche. At one time, children were the property of their fathers, but that is no longer the case. Children are “persons” under the Constitution, and as the ruling in Prince v. Massachusetts held, parents do not have a constitutional right to make martyrs of their children. Parents have an obligation to protect their children’s health and life, which means that the school district mandates that reduce the risk of death to children should be enforceable, period.
Marci Hamilton is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania
The Supreme Court explicitly upheld vaccine mandates against deadly diseases in Jacobson, where it explained: “the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand.” We live in a country of ordered liberty, not individual autonomy that paves the way to the deaths of others. In short, it is not the right of every American citizen to catch and transmit a potentially fatal infection.
The Times takes it further “We can’t ignore the media’s responsibility in spreading antivaccine misinformation. “Scientific understanding of the virus changes by the hour, it seems. The virus spreads only by close contact or on contaminated surfaces, then turns out to be airborne. The virus mutates slowly but then emerges in a series of dangerous new forms. Americans don’t need to wear masks. Wait, they do”.
Americans are living with science as it unfolds in real-time. The process has always been fluid, unpredictable. But rarely has it moved at this speed, leaving citizens to confront research findings as soon as they land at the front door, a stream of deliveries that no one ordered and no one wants.
The bottom line is that we have to take bolder steps to get everyone vaccinated because the unvaccinated represent a danger to us all. It’s time to stop pandering to ignorance and stupidity. Delta Airlines’ plan to charge unvaccinated employees an extra $200 a month in health insurance premiums is bold and is needed.