We don’t always agree with Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, but we support his decision to challenge the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private companies with more than 100 workers.
Rokita, a Republican, is among several state attorneys general to file lawsuits to stop the Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules, which give workers until Jan. 4 to be vaccinated or face weekly testing.
A federal appeals court has put the rules on hold as the lawsuits play out.
Rokita and other challengers argue that the rules infringe on the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment, which says that powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved for the state. And to that end, the lawsuits argue that the OSHA rules exceed the authority Congress has given the agency.
“We are suing the president because he’s got to stop running roughshod over Americans’ liberties,” Rokita said in a statement about the lawsuits. “It is regrettable that we must take him to court to make him uphold his oath, but it’s necessary to protect our state institutions and fellow citizens from his unlawful schemes.”
Lawyers for the federal justice and labor departments have asked the appeals court to remove the stay on the rules, arguing that stopping the mandate from taking effect will only prolong the pandemic and “cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”
We get it. We know the federal government is trying to do everything it can to save lives.
And we’re not anti-vaxxers. On the contrary, we’ve been urging Hoosiers to get vaccinated since the shots became available early this year. We believe vaccinations are our community’s best defense against an overwhelmed health care system—and a wrecked economy. And we, too, are frustrated that so many people have opted against getting them.
That’s why we have supported companies and organizations that have imposed their own vaccine mandates. We think it’s an employer’s right to put reasonable restrictions on workers—and we think vaccine policies are reasonable, especially when there are exemptions that allow workers to be tested regularly instead.
Some companies are choosing vaccine mandates and regular testing to keep workers out of the hospital and health care costs down. Some are trying to keep workers on the job so their production lines don’t go down when an entire shift of workers gets sick. Others are likely responding to peer pressure or see the mandates as a good PR move. We’re good with any of that.
But what we don’t like are government mandates. We don’t think elected officials and bureaucrats have a better idea what’s best for a company or organization than its own managers do.
So kudos to Rokita for challenging the mandate—and to Gov. Eric Holcomb for supporting it, a rare moment of agreement between the two. We’re not sure that the lawsuits will succeed on their legal merits—that’s for a judge and probably the U.S. Supreme Court to decide. But we don’t think the mandate is a good idea and so we appreciate the challenge.•
To comment, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.