The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office announced Thursday that the state is joining the call to end mask mandates for Head Start students and is taking part in legal action against president Joe Biden‘s vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
Calling Biden’s vaccine mandate “unlawful,” State Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a news release that he has submitted an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit filed by Kentucky that seeks an immediate end to the requirement that all employees of federal contractors be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The powers of the states — protected by the Constitution — cannot be wiped away by the president’s seizure of power. This is about upholding the Constitution and the rule of law. No president has the authority to do what President Biden is trying to do here. He’s not a king,” Wilson said in the release.
Wilson is joining 20 other state attorney generals in supporting the lawsuit.
Though the release notes that “there are many South Carolina companies that will be negatively impacted by the unlawful requirements,” no information was included about how many employees in the state are affected by the mandate, nor what kind of effects businesses are experiencing as a result of it.
As of Wednesday, there have been more than 1.4 million reported cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina and 17,251 deaths, according to The New York Times.
Nationwide, 65 percent of residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In South Carolina, it’s 56 percent. However 86 percent of South Carolinians over the age of 65 are fully vaccinated, which is just 3 percent behind the national number.
In the past 14 days, the state has seen an 80 percent drop in reports of new cases, but a 56 percent increase in COVID-19 deaths.
The amicus brief Wilson has filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit argues that the vaccination requirements for federal contractors “improperly intrude on states’ traditional powers,” calling the mandate “an authorized exercise of regulatory power.”
Further, Wilson asserts that the president “failed to show that the mandate promotes economy and efficiency.”
In announcing support for the lawsuit, South Carolina joins Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
In addition to filing the brief, Wilson has joined 22 other state attorneys general by signing a letter to Biden and his administration that calls for the end of the Head Start program’s mask mandate.
In November 2021, Biden announced a regulation requiring the masking of children age 2 and older who attended federally funded schools and daycares. According to the release, the requirement extends to outdoor activities.
The attorneys general argue that the mandate “subjects children and toddlers to arbitrary and inconsistent discipline for not wearing a mask, and that it is long past time for the unconscionable policy to be rescinded.”
“According to health experts, requiring masks for these young children is not what’s best for them, so this mandate needs to be rescinded,” Wilson said in the release.
The letter states: “Your mask mandate was wrong from the beginning.”
According to Wilson’s news release, the letter also points out that even the states with some of the most restrictive COVID-19 policies are now lifting indoor mask mandates at schools.
“If the mandate remains in place, the staff, children and toddlers at Head Start programs will soon be among the only people in the country forced to wear masks.”
In addition to Attorney General Wilson, the attorneys general of the following states signed-on to the letter: Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Liz Farrell is the new executive editor at FITSNews. She was named 2018’s top columnist in the state by South Carolina Press Association and is back after taking a nearly two-year break from corporate journalism to reclaim her soul. Email her at email@example.com or tweet her @ElizFarrell.
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