Idaho leaders send letter to President Biden threatening legal action

President Joe Biden speaks during a briefing from fire agency officials in Boise, Idaho.
President Joe Biden speaks during a briefing from fire agency officials in Boise, Idaho.
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 3:33 PM MDT
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —Several Idaho government leaders signed a letter threatening legal action against the Biden administration for the recent vaccine mandates.

“We respectfully ask that you rescind this directive,” the letter said. “We strongly express our opposition to your proposed mandate.”

The letter outlines three main arguments against President Biden’s vaccine mandates.

1. The states, not the federal government, have the power to create and enforce vaccination policies.

“Congress has no constitutional authority to directly mandate vaccinations in the states; nor has Congress ever attempted to do so,” the letter says. It cites the fact that Idaho law has been enforcing immunizations for more than 40 years.

The letter states that the mandate risks displacing Idaho law and ignoring the discretion of Idaho business leaders.

“The State of Idaho is already involved in a series of discussions with our business leaders concerning the actions they are employing to address COVID-19,” the letter says. “You should withdraw this directive to the U.S. Department of Labor and continue the state-directed approach to vaccinations as has been practiced for years.”

2. The U.S. Department of Labor doesn’t have the authority to issue the mandate.

OSHA narrowly applies to hazards unique to a workplace, not pandemics or other public health crises,” the letter says. Congress, it argues, established OSHA for “employment and places of employment,” which the pandemic is not exclusive to. Using OSHA as a justification for dealing with the pandemic is “a clear overreach of executive authority,” the letter argues.

The letter also argues that such a broad mandate “likely violates the non-delegation doctrine which prohibits Congress from delegating its lawmaking function to the executive branch.”

3. State and federal cooperation requires the mandate not to be submitted.

The letter argues that the “leaders of the state of Idaho” are “in the best position to determine the appropriate response within the borders of our state, not the federal government.”

“One size fits all federal solutions are unproductive,” the letter adds.

The letter concludes by stating that if the Biden administration moves forward with the mandate, “the state of Idaho will have no choice but to take the necessary legal actions to uphold its sovereignty... check the overreach of power... and uphold the system of checks and balances.”

The letter was signed by Gov. Brad Little, Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Widner, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

The full letter can be found here.

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