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Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz revealed that it is entirely constitutional for the government to force Americans to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The constitutional law expert told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the government has considerable “police power” and its right to mandate a vaccine when one becomes available is not “debatable.”
(Source: Fox News)
Dershowitz spoke on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday about the constitutionality of forcing people to be vaccinated against the contagious virus, even if those individuals resist. Carlson began the segment by noting that, although the argument can be made that people “don’t have a right to endanger other people, your right to punch ends at the tip of my nose,” some Americans will just refuse to be vaccinated.
“I understand the argument, but there is also, in the specific case of a vaccine, a risk to the individual taking it because vaccines are good for populations — but in some rare cases, sometimes not that rare, they can hurt people. That’s factually true,” Carlson said.
“Does the government still have a right to endanger you by forcing you to take it?” he asked Dershowitz.
“The Supreme Court has said yes, and if the case came to the Supreme Court today, they would say yes, it would either be 9-0 or 8-1,” the noted civil libertarian replied. “It is not a debatable issue constitutionally. Look, they have a right to draft you and put your life in danger to help the country. The police power of the state is very considerable.”
Dershowitz then distinguished between the constitutional and moral issues in the debate for and against being vaccinated.
“I think one can make the plausible argument that nobody should be required to be subject to a dangerous vaccination to help other people. That is a plausible argument. And I think we should continue to debate that. I wouldn’t require people to be given a vaccine unless it is proven very, very safe,” he said.
“If the vaccine is deemed extremely safe, then the state does have the right to compel you to take it,” he added.
“Remember, vaccines work on a theory of mass inoculation. You’re not taking it to help yourself. If there were a vaccine developed for cancer or a heart condition, obviously you and I would have a right to say no, we have the right to die,” Dershowitz continued.
“But I don’t believe you have a right to be Typhoid Mary and spread it,” he argued, noting that people have the option to stay in quarantine if they object to being vaccinated.
“But what you don’t have the right to do is circulate in society without being vaccinated if the vaccine is proven to be very safe,” Dershowitz emphasized.
Carlson interjected to note that people are justifiably nervous about vaccines and that there is “so much lying” about them “on all sides.” Arguments can also be made that the same government authorities and experts advocating a vaccine were repeatedly inaccurate in initial models and predictions about COVID-19 impacts and casualties.
“By the same reasoning since we have, in effect, socialized medicine — we are all affected by the health choices our neighbors make — why should we allow people to eat Little Debbie snack cakes when we are all paying for diabetes treatment?” Carlson asked the retired Harvard Law School professor.
“That argument doesn’t work,” Dershowitz responded.
“You can never make somebody do anything only for their own good, even if it has lateral impact on the rest of us,” he explained.
“In the world in which we live, if you get fat and then get sick, we pay for it. That’s not enough for a civil libertarian. But the spread of a deadly, highly contagious illness is enough for a civil libertarian, but I want to have a rule of reason. I don’t believe in shutting down the whole society or putting people in jail for not wearing masks,” Dershowitz said.
He suggested people volunteer initially to be vaccinated but acknowledged that eventually, those who are healthy and not at risk for the virus may just refuse the treatment.
“Then if the state decides to compel them, they would win in the Supreme Court of the United States. That is my expert prediction of the constitutional lawyer,” he predicted, adding that, while he would probably opt to take the vaccine, requiring his 10-year-old great-grandson to take it is a “different issue” as the risks may outweigh the benefits.
Dershowitz went on to urge that free speech rights be taken into account and that the debate for and against vaccines should be allowed to continue.
“These are issues that should be debated,” he said. “Free speech, let’s make sure the anti-vaxxers get to say their thing…We have to make sure we don’t compromise safety in the process.”
Carlson agreed, reiterating that “a free debate is a prerequisite for all of this,” and warned about how those with “views that are considered apostasy” are not being allowed to speak currently.
“It makes everybody nervous, including me,” he said, adding that those voicing different opinions on the internet “makes me trust nobody.”
“They are allowed to protest, and they are allowed to protest in a vigorous way,” Dershowitz said. “Not in a violent way, but in a vigorous way.”
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