People are asking our thoughts about the presidential vaccine mandates. We get at least two calls daily on the issue. I do not encourage or discourage anyone from taking the COVID vaccine. My opinion is a nationwide mandate is beyond the power of the president. Perhaps with the approval of Congress, such a nationwide requirement might pass muster. I do not think the president can do a nationwide requirement on his own.
The powers of the executive branch are broad. They are not absolute. For instance, if the president wanted to ban junk food or institute a national fitness program with mandatory participation of all working-class citizens, it would be certainly beyond his ability to do so. I think the same is true with the vaccine mandate. That said, it is a hard decision to refuse the shot when your job may depend on it.
I suspect the federal bureaucracy is not entirely sure the order is binding. The current procedure for federal employees who refuse is to keep them working, until a more final determination comes about.
For more details, and both perspectives on the issue, check out this article from the American Bar Association. It is a very readable analysis of previous mandates and how they fared.
Written by Greg Gouner