A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine injection by a pharmacist at a clinic in Lawrence, Mass., Dec. 29, 2021.



Photo:

Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The Biden Administration said Friday it will appeal a federal judge’s injunction against its vaccine mandate for federal employees. But why bother? The White House says 98% of federal workers have complied. Increasingly the

Biden

mandates seem more about punishing than protecting people.

President Biden would seem to have stronger legal grounds for a mandate on federal workers than on private ones. The Administration argued that civil-service laws give the President carte blanche authority over the federal workforce, especially when to protect the public.

But as Judge

Jeffrey Brown

explained in his ruling, Congress granted the President limited authority to regulate “the conduct” of executive branch employees. Getting vaccinated isn’t workplace “conduct.” The judge also noted that the public harm from firing unvaccinated workers who provide vital government services exceeds the negligible public-health benefit.

Though the vast majority of federal workers are vaccinated, the mandate could interfere with important government functions like border control and airport security. Compliance was lowest in mid-December at the Environmental Protection Agency (95.6%). Hundreds of bureaucrats charged with imposing the Administration’s green agenda could be laid off.

While protecting against severe disease, vaccines don’t prevent infection and transmission. Why won’t the Administration back down even following legal defeat?

Perhaps because vaccine mandates and coercion are popular with progressive voters. A Rasmussen poll last week reported that 59% of Democratic voters would support a government policy confining the unvaccinated to their homes, except for emergencies. Nearly half (48%) of Democratic voters also thought the governments should be able to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of vaccines on social media.

The good news is that mandates are unpopular with most Americans, and dropping them might even help Mr. Biden’s approval rating.

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Appeared in the January 22, 2022, print edition.



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