NEW YORK (PNN) - September 23, 2021 - New York Times bestselling author Kent Heckenlively says that Alan Dershowitz is wrong to state that the Supreme Court ruling on Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905 as legal ground for pretender Joe Biden’s unlawful (COVID-19) vaccine mandates.
“At most it gives a government the authority to impose a relatively small fine. But it doesn’t say that you can’t participate in the society if you don’t get a vaccine. It doesn’t say, ‘we’re going to keep you from interacting with people.’ That’s the first thing that made me say, ‘Dershowitz is absolutely wrong,'” Heckenlively says.
For context, Massachusetts was one of 11 states that had compulsory vaccination laws at the time. The Massachusetts law empowered the board of health of individual cities and towns to enforce mandatory, free vaccinations for adults over the age of 21 if the municipality determined it was necessary for the public health or safety of the community. Adults who refused were subject to a $5 fine.
In 1902, faced with an outbreak of smallpox, the Board of Health of Cambridge, Massachusetts, adopted a regulation ordering the vaccination or revaccination of all its residents. Pastor Henning Jacobson refused vaccination saying that “he and his son had had bad reactions to earlier vaccinations” as children. Jacobson believed that his family may have some sort of hereditary condition that made taking a vaccine particularly dangerous.
Because of his refusal to get vaccinated, Jacobson was prosecuted and fined $5 (about $150 in 2020 dollars). The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which upheld the authority of states to enforce compulsory vaccination laws in 1905.
Dershowitz, a New York Times bestselling author like Heckenlively, often cites Jacobson v. Massachusetts to make a case for vaccine mandates.
The former Harvard Law School professor says there are three issues that will be addressed in constitutional challenges: whether the federal government has the power to mandate vaccines, whether Biden has the power to issue the mandate, and whether a mandate is constitutional.
“I think that if it’s done properly, it would be,” says Dershowitz. “The Supreme Court has held since 1905 that you can compel vaccination of a highly contagious disease like smallpox.”
But Heckenlively shoots down Dershowitz’s argument.
“Let’s compare COVID to smallpox. Smallpox killed 300 million people. So we’re looking at something that was much more serious than COVID. In 1905, what they did was they said, ‘if you don’t take a smallpox vaccine, we’re going to give you a $5 fine,'” says Heckenlively, author of the upcoming book The Case Against Vaccine Mandates.
Heckenlively says $5 in 1905 is the equivalent of $150 today. According to him, that small fine suggests that “nobody had ever anticipated that you’ll violate somebody’s bodily integrity by forcing them to take a medication.”
That fine is definitely much less than the fines and consequences laid out in Biden’s vaccine mandates.
Nearly 30 states are gearing up for a fight against Biden’s vaccine mandates, which include requiring employers with more than 100 employees to either get vaccinated or be tested regularly. At least 14 states have already enacted COVID-related laws to bar vaccine mandates, as well as mask mandates and vaccine passports.
A group of state attorneys general has sent a letter to Biden vowing to take legal action if he does not reverse course. The attorneys general argue that the mandate would be illegal and unlikely to be successful as a public health measure.
“The vaccines have helped protect millions of (Amerikans), and there are surely others who could benefit from obtaining this treatment,” the letter reads. “But convincing those who are hesitant to do so would require you to allow room for discussion and disagreement. Instead, you have offered the (Amerikan) people flimsy legal arguments, contradictory statements, and threatening directives. It is almost as if your goal is to sow division and distrust, rather than promote unity and the public’s health.”
Arizona has already filed a lawsuit, arguing that the mandates violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.