COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) – South Carolina’s attorney general says he isn’t backing down on the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Attorney General Alan Wilson has joined three lawsuits on behalf of the state aimed at halting federal vaccine mandates — two that have resulted in injunctions.
“I myself am vaccinated and for those people who feel it’s the appropriate thing for you to do and you’ve consulted with your health care provider, I would encourage you to get that vaccine,” Wilson said in a press conference Wednesday. “But that is a decision for you to make.”
The mandates on private companies with more than 100 employees and health care workers have both been blocked temporarily.
Wilson said there is a hearing scheduled Friday for a lawsuit against requiring federal contractors to get the vaccine or produce a negative test weekly.
“In other words, private businesses and health care providers are not being required by the federal government — that’s important, that’s a distinction — are not being required by the federal government or being compelled by them to force their employees to get the vaccination,” he said.
“That is temporary. We still have to litigate the merits of those cases,” Wilson added.
The state attorney general said the legal battles boil down to federal overreach.
“The federal government does not have the unilateral authority to mandate vaccinations on American citizens,” Wilson said, adding, “I don’t want to see this administration or any administration of either party radically change the relationship of the role of the federal government with that of its citizens.”
Wilson said he’s heard a number of complaints about hospitals, health care providers and private businesses continuing to implement vaccine protocols in recent weeks.
“I want to provide them a little cover,” he said.
“If they don’t continue to follow the implementation of the protocols as they were told by the federal government, they could’ve lost all of their money,” Wilson explained.
He mentioned that even if the litigation against the federal mandates is successful, local governments or private businesses would still have the authority to implement their own vaccine requirements.
“All this does is it prevents the federal government from basically holding a gun to the heads of state or to the heads of businesses or other organizations and compelling them or coercing them to force their employees to get the jab,” the attorney general said.
Wilson said he expects to pursue permanent injunctions in court in early 2022 and presumes these lawsuits will go to the Supreme Court.