December 11, 2023 was a disappointing day for the United States of America as one of Americans’ most hallowed institutions abrogated its responsibility on that day, giving the populace yet another reason to question the reasoning and integrity of those leading our three branches of government.
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) derogated its responsibilities to all Americans by issuing an order dismissing all outstanding lawsuits challenging the Biden administration’s executive order which mandated that federal employees receive the experimental and dangerous Covid-19 injections.
The Court violated its responsibilities because among the Court’s duties is adjudicating and reconciling disparate rulings from the thirteen US judicial circuits when those rulings contradict one another.
In this instance, plaintiffs in three separate lawsuits had challenged the Biden administration’s Covid-19 injection mandate for federal employees in district court in the Fifth, Sixth, and District of Columbia (DC) Circuits. The district court rulings in each of those cases had then been appealed to the respective Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled against the Biden administration and the Department of Justice (DOJ) had appealed that decision to SCOTUS. The Sixth Circuit and the DC Circuit had ruled in favor of government authority to mandate vaccines for federal workers and plaintiffs in both cases had appealed those rulings to SCOTUS.
Contrary to common understanding, SCOTUS is not required to hear every case before it. Rather, appellants in lawsuits seeking SCOTUS review must petition SCOTUS to grant a writ of certiorari, an agreement that SCOTUS will hear the case.
In the instance of all three lawsuits challenging the Biden administrations vaccine mandate for federal employees, SCOTUS granted the writs but simultaneously dismissed all the cases as moot, oddly using the same legal precedent, Munsingwear, to dismiss both the case decided in favor of plaintiffs and those decided in favor of the government.
That SCOTUS agreed to hear the cases was not surprising because the Court is charged with reviewing challenges to the Constitution and reconciling judicial disagreements between the various circuits. What was surprising, however, was that SCOTUS vacated all three judgements, remanding the cases back to the respective circuit courts with orders to the respective district courts to dismiss the cases as moot, simply because the executive order mandating the shots had been revoked.
SCOTUS essentially punted. It dodged adjudicating and ruling on the constitutionality of a crucial matter before it, namely, whether the federal government has the power to mandate a vaccine for all federal employees. To the disappointment and consternation of many, this move by SCOTUS allows a future repeat of a federal vaccine mandate should the President deem it appropriate.
Health Freedom Defense Fund (HFDF) attorney John Howard remarked,
This was a sad act of judicial cowardice that has become all too common. Millions of Americans lost jobs and fundamental freedoms because of vaccine mandates. The Court had the capacity to answer, once and for all, whether it is constitutionally permissible to force people to take medical treatments against their will. Rather than answer the question, the Court chose, rather, to engage in a bit of judicial sleight of hand, raising a massive fig leaf to obscure its fear that American liberty carries with it American risk. In that cowardly act, the Court preserved government power over American freedom. The days are apparently past when the Court will bravely opt for freedom over the awesome power of government. It is a very sad day.
When a party ceases an illegal act, the voluntary cessation principle states that courts retain authority to adjudicate that act if the act is capable of repetition. Given the current administration’s continued recommendation of the Covid-19 injection despite reams of evidence that the injections are not only dangerous but deficient in effectiveness, one must conclude that the administration seeks the power and authority to repeat vaccine mandates. Why else would DOJ appeal the case it lost if the government did not want the power to reinstate mandates?
Another looming issue remains the conflict between case law from a century ago in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905), a ruling in which SCOTUS determined that the state possesses the power and authority to mandate vaccines under extreme circumstances, with more recent case law such as Washington v. Harper (1990) and Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dep’t of Health (1990), which protect the right to bodily autonomy and to refuse unwanted medical treatment even if it might save a person’s life.
Now, the lawsuit brought by Federal Employees for Freedom and HFDF representing 6000 federal employees challenging the federal employee mandate, which had been stayed pending SCOTUS review of a related case also in the Fifth Circuit which was dismissed by SCOTUS’ order, will be dismissed as moot with the question regarding the legality of the federal vaccine mandate remaining unresolved.
This unfortunate turn of events deeply troubles HFDF as it so clearly illustrates what HFDF sees as an inversion of justice as it leaves thousands of federal employees in limbo. SCOTUS was able to evade ruling on a matter critically important to several million federal employees, and by extension to all Americans, and now the burden rests on the shoulders of average people to organize themselves, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, and secure willing and able legal representation to mount another challenge to the exact same policy should it arise again.
That is not justice. That is not democracy. And it’s certainly not what our founders intended.