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The Federal Government, States’ Rights, And The Pandemic

US President Joe Biden speaks to the press as he visits the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
US President Joe Biden speaks to the press as he visits the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

As part of a new plan to combat the delta variant, President Joe Biden said he will issue an executive order that would require certain businesses to mandate the Covid-19 vaccine for their employees.

This move will likely face legal challenges. It also raises the question of what the federal government can and can’t mandate?

Up until this point, much of the response to Covid has been left to the states. This has made for a patchwork of measures and bans.

Biden’s executive order could be a unifying force when it comes to the vaccine. It will also likely deepen the power struggle between federal and state authorities.

So, who should get the power? And how is that power complicated by a climate of polarization?

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