Vaccine mandates may be coming — but will they be legal?

For the most part, the motivation behind government and private mandates are hard to litigate. Courts tend to defer to measures ostensibly protecting others from risk of illness; even in criminal cases, the government has been allowed to conduct “pretextual traffic stops” if it can cite an objective basis.

There may be new legal challenges ahead, however. First, those with religious or medical concerns can challenge mandated vaccination programs. CNN’s Don Lemon this week called for barring unvaccinated people from offices and businesses, insisting “It has nothing to do with liberty. You don’t have the freedom and the liberty to put other people in jeopardy.” In truth, there are constitutional questions when you force people to take medications or vaccinations that violate their religious beliefs or that fail to satisfy a rational basis…

The greatest danger with the coercion model is that it will further deepen our divisions and turn vaccine resistance into a type of patriotic resistance for some people. Recently, a shocking poll found that almost 50 percent of Republicans believe “patriotic Americans [might] have to take the law into their own hands.” The poll shows how many Americans are increasingly alienated from the government, the media and the established order. Conversely, some commentators on the left have declared that the unvaccinated are terrorists using “biological warfare” against the nation.