“As access to the COVID-19 vaccines has become widespread, numerous educational institutions, employers, and other entities across the United States have announced that they will require individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, enrollment, participation, or some other benefit, service, relationship, or access,” DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel wrote in an opinion. “For instance, certain schools will require vaccination in order for students to attend class in person, and certain employers will require vaccination as a condition of employment.”
While a mask mandate imposed by private businesses would not technically violate federal law, Turley said those with pre-existing medical conditions of religious objections would have a “valid case to bring to court.”
But, he argued, “for the most part, private employers will likely prevail in requiring vaccinations for people to return to the office. For those companies that are allowing for virtual work to continue…they will be particularly in a good position in terms of litigation. But the courts are highly deferential when it comes to private businesses and also they have the support of the CDC recommendations.”
Turley took aim at the Biden administration for supporting a “coerced consent approach” which encourages private companies to “make life as difficult as possible for people who are not convinced” to take the vaccine.
“You have like CNN’s health experts saying we have to make their life as miserable as possible,” the George Washington University law professor said. “Even in Germany, you have officials saying you’ll have fewer freedoms unless you consent. All of this is to force people that are against getting vaccines into sort of a smaller and smaller point of existence, into a very difficult space. But it also means that private companies become a type of shadow state,” he said. “They become the vehicle by which the government can do indirectly what it’s not doing directly.”