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HomeHealth CareDi Leo: Illegal Mandates and the Abandonment of a Sacred Oath

Di Leo: Illegal Mandates and the Abandonment of a Sacred Oath



Smallpox inoculations in the revolutionary war

By John F. Di Leo - 

In just one week, four federal courts have said no, and the US Senate voted the same way. The vaccine mandate is crumbling.

Earlier this fall, Jabbin’ Joe Biden issued his commands in no uncertain terms:  OSHA will mandate that all employers of over a hundred people must force their employees to accept these experimental Covid-19 vaccines.  Every federal department must mandate that all their federal employees accept it too.  All federal contractors and health care workers, all members of the military, must take it as well.  There is no freedom anymore; the days of human rights are over. Uncle Joe has spoken.

Many of us assumed that the federal mandate was a con from the start – that even the ultra-statists of the Biden-Harris regime knew full well that they don’t have the authority, so they hoped that Biden’s speech would be enough to scare people into compliance on the basis of his speech. He might never have to issue an illegal executive order; his department chiefs might never have to publish illegal regulations in the Federal Register, if they just said they were going to, and a gullible public acted on that promise alone.

But no, to the surprise of some, the regime went ahead and filed those illegal rules, knowing they would eventually be overturned.  And many businesses, especially the “woke” ones, both small and large, did climb aboard that sinking ship.  A few vocal refusals by airline pilots and mailmen followed, along with thousands (or maybe hundreds of thousands?) of quiet resignations as well, and the mandate defenders are more visibly desperate every week.

Even without the issue of legality, it is baffling that the regime chose this particular hill to die on.   Early reports indicated that the vaccines were less effective than hoped and more dangerous than feared. A year into their use, the evidence has only grown that these early reports put it mildly.  A prudent government or employer would be one that encouraged people to make an educated personal decision on the matter, but such wise counsel is foreign to this crowd.

You can’t keep these statistics bottled up forever; every day, more and more people understand the situation, and over the years, they will be sure to judge their employers and politicians harshly for trying so hard to force the matter.

What is most striking, though, is the chronology of the mandate.  How far we have fallen as a Constitutional republic.

First, usurper-in-chief Joe Biden announced publicly that there would be mandates.  He announced that he was going to direct various agencies to issue these rules before he actually did. This could be viewed as clever (though still malevolent), because private companies might then take it upon themselves to voluntarily issue a rule, in anticipation of a rule that never materialized.

But then they did issue the mandates.  Through executive orders and agency rule-making, the regime unleashed the floodgates of our nation’s courts.  Nobody could file a lawsuit against a press conference or a presidential speech, but once their unconstitutional declarations were published, they were fair game for the courts.  And in addition, wisely not waiting for the courts, dozens of states passed laws banning these unconstitutional rules. 

Today, while the court fights are still very much alive, the mandate itself is reasonably dead – outside the most leftwing of employers and the most blue of states.

On the one hand, one could say that the Founding Fathers’ plan – the system of checks and balances – is working.  The executive branch has done something illegal, so private businesses are refusing to comply, and states are striking it down under the 10th Amendment.  The Federal Courts are striking it down, state by state and class by class.  And the federal legislature is taking it on, as both houses of Congress take up the case.

But on the other hand, one must also acknowledge that the Founding Fathers’ plan has been circumvented, because the idea of the chief executive – of all people! – issuing this mandate would be anathema to the Framers.

Our first President, the great George Washington, was certainly a supporter of the rudimentary vaccines of his time.  At the very dawn of modern medical science, the dreaded smallpox terrorized our young land, year after year.  As commander-in-chief during our War of Independence, General Washington mandated that his vulnerable troops (the roughly three quarters who had not previously had the disease) be inoculated against smallpox.  It was a somewhat dangerous process, but much less so than Variola, which was then extremely contagious and often fatal.  In a war in which 90% of casualties were due to disease rather than bullets, inoculation made the difference.

But in 1777, his order only applied to soldiers and those who assisted in caring for the troops at winter quarters.  It did not apply to the general public; General Washington would never have dreamed claiming such authority.  He understood – and respected – the limits of his power.

A decade later, when Washington served as presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention, he saw his chief obligation as being a guardian of freedom.  He knew his role was to do everything possible to keep the leviathan of government within the walls that the Convention had built.

So, for the following eight years, when he served as our nation’s first president, George Washington continued to view his role that way: as the people’s appointed warden over the government, so to speak, with the job of keeping the government’s claws trimmed, keeping the government’s teeth muzzled, keeping the government on a short chain, so that it could do only the little that the Constitution allowed, and never more.

When Congress passes a bill today, our Presidents usually sign it.  They figure that “the House liked the idea, the Senate liked the idea, who am I to stop it?”

President Washington did not take that approach, nor did any of our early presidents.  Consider the question of the first Bank of the United States.  When that bill arose in the halls of Congress, it was a project to support Washington’s administration.  Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was its advocate, in fact… but after the bill passed Congress, Rep. James Madison, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, and others quietly raised the question of its constitutionality.

Instantly, President Washington’s approach changed. He had supported it before, not thinking of a constitutional objection himself, but once that question was raised, it became his primary focus.  The president summoned his cabinet and informed them of the challenge. He told his team – Hamilton, Knox, Jefferson and Randolph – that he needed their personal, individual opinions on whether the bank idea was constitutional.  He informed them – as if there could have been any doubt – that if he was convinced it was unconstitutional, he would veto it, even though he liked the plan… because what mattered first and foremost was that the government must never pursue an unconstitutional course.

We know how that one ended; Jefferson and Randolph argued against, Hamilton and Knox argued for, and Washington was convinced that it was not only a prudent course, but a constitutional one. Washington signed the bill, and the Hamiltonian economic plan soon began to bear fruit, pulling the nation out of its long depression.

To think about this incident today, we may as well be not in different times, but in different worlds.  George Washington was then prepared to veto his own team’s plan if it was determined to be unconstitutional, while Joe Biden is today eager to force through a tyrannical plan, while knowing full well of its unconstitutionality.

America was built to be a nation governed by laws, not by men. Our first president, and in fact most of our presidents for our first century or so, fully understood and honored that plan.

But then, early in the 20th century, our federal government began to veer further and further off that path, with too many presidents who think only of the potential for power, and think nothing of the restraints their predecessors so highly valued.

This current lot – from Biden and Harris to Pelosi and Schumer, and all the hangers-on in their orbits – are guilty of the same mortal sin: they wield power in a Constitutional republic, without respecting the Constitution’s many restraints on that power.  Despite taking a sacred oath to uphold the Constitution, they are the first to implement unconstitutional mandates, because they have long been in the habit of violating their oaths of office as soon as the words leave their mouths.

We must separate these statists’ hands from the steering wheel of the nation… the sooner, the better.   How on earth we will make it to 2023, I don’t know.

Copyright 2021 John F. Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer and transportation manager, writer and actor. A one-time county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, he has been writing regularly for Illinois Review since 2009.

 A collection of John’s Illinois Review articles about vote fraud, The Tales of Little Pavel, and his 2021 political satires about current events, Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes One and Two, are available, in either paperback or eBook, only on Amazon.

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  1. Wasn’t Stalin called “Uncle Joe” by the Democrats?
    The problem with Congress (and ALL lawmakers) is they can pass crappy illegal regulations FOR FREE, but it costs money for anyone to fight them.
    If clowns like Biden were to be held legally and financially responsible for the costs of litigating such regulations, we’d see a hell of a lot less of them.