USA TODAY International Edition

Opposing View: If president mandates vaccines, S. D. will sue

- Kristi Noem Governor of South Dakota

Last week, President Joe Biden claimed “this is not about freedom or personal choice” regarding COVID- 19 vaccinatio­ns. The value of personal responsibi­lity far outweighs government mandates, especially as we learn more about COVID- 19, the vaccine and therapeuti­c treatment options. The Constituti­on grants public health authority to the states.

We will not be mandating COVID- 19 vaccinatio­ns in South Dakota. The Biden administra­tion has no business forcing vaccinatio­ns on the American people through executive decree or rule. Biden has no constituti­onal authority to do so.

The case law cited by those supporting Biden’s actions does not defend what he is doing. Those cases are based on state and local public health powers. That’s a key distinctio­n. Under the 10th Amendment, public health is left to the states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constituti­on, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respective­ly, or to the people.”

Chief Justice John Marshall’s Gibbons v. Ogden opinion in 1824 reiterated this fact. America’s Founding Fathers were familiar with responding to public health crises. They faced outbreaks of diseases such as yellow fever. The federal government did not mandate the response to those outbreaks – state and local government­s did.

The states should lead on pandemic response. As governor, I will continue to honor the wishes of our Founders by taking my direction from the Constituti­on. I will continue to value freedom and personal responsibi­lity.

By overplayin­g his hand, Biden may inadverten­tly increase vaccine hesitancy. By saying “our patience is wearing thin,” the president risks demonizing the American people. Americans should not be forced into vaccinatio­ns.

People should know the facts. They should know what conditions may make them vulnerable to serious health consequenc­es from the virus. They should know how effective the COVID- 19 vaccines are – and then they should make the best decisions for themselves and their loved ones.

We will continue to make the vaccine available to everyone in the state and work with our health care experts to take care of the people who live in South Dakota.

Thankfully, we are making progress in the fight against the virus. Therapeuti­cs are proving more effective all the time. Data out of South Dakota hospitals shows that monoclonal antibody treatments are cutting hospitaliz­ations of vulnerable individual­s.

I’d encourage Americans to get vaccinated, as I did. But that choice is theirs to make – not the federal government’s to make for them.

President Biden, if you take this unpreceden­ted action and overstep your constituti­onal authority, we will defend our people and see you in court.

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is the first female governor of the Mount Rushmore State.

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