Fauci’s Promise of No Federal Vaccine-Passport Mandate Less Than Meets the Eye

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a Senate Committee Hearing in Washington, D.C., September 23, 2020.
(Graeme Jennings/Reuters)

Anthony Fauci has assured us from on high that the federal government will not require vaccine passports as a condition of conducting normal business. From the New York Post story:

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday that the US government will not require Americans to use vaccine passports to prove they’ve been immunized against the coronavirus.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the federal government “may be involved in making sure things are done fairly and equitably.”

“But I doubt if the federal government is gonna be the leading element of that,” Fauci told the “Politico Dispatch” podcast.

Fauci said he expects certain businesses and educational institutions to be the ones to create their own policies about vaccination.

“I’m not saying that they should or that they would, but I’m saying you could foresee how an independent entity might say, ‘Well, we can’t be dealing with you unless we know you’re vaccinated.’ But it’s not going to be mandated from the federal government,” he said.

This isn’t really news. The plan was never to have a federal mandate.

The vaccine-passport idea was always for the private sector to “voluntarily” require customers to show our passports if we want to engage in common activities such as traveling, attending sports events, perhaps even shopping. The goal is to push reluctant people to accept the vaccine as the price of being able to engage in normal life.

And the beautiful part for the Biden administration is that the government won’t get its hands dirty. A legal mandate would require Congress to pass a law or an executive-branch agency to promulgate a rule. Such actions involve checks and balances and democratic deliberation. That takes time! And any mandate would have to pass constitutional muster to boot.

But having the private sector impose such a burden on customers? Easy, peasy. Just have the CDC publish a guideline, then issue an announcement that the company intends to abide by the advisory. Spend a week or two training employees and begin enforcement.

No constitutional issues would be involved because the government wouldn’t — technically — be requiring any business or person to do anything. If you want to fly to visit Aunt Liz in Des Moines, you will have to get vaccinated. Otherwise, you can always get in the car and drive. (But what if hotel chains require passports? What then?)

This is a perilous time for lovers of liberty. We are on the verge of empowering the private sector to become the enforcers of policies desired by federal bureaucrats. That’s known as a corporatocracy.

And don’t think that such private enforcement would stop with vaccine passports. Sometimes it can seem these days like big business is more invested in promoting ideology and exercising cultural power than in making profits. (Remember when the Left distrusted Big Business? Good times.)

It’s going to take some deep thought and determination to discern the most effective means of pushing back. At least Florida governor Ron DeSantis has made a start.

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