President Biden’s first press conference was a smashing success. He managed to go the entire time without deviating from his scripted responses, taking any hard questions, or tripping over any stairs. In a less-than-shocking case of good timing, it was only after the press conference that we learned the Biden Administration secretly plans to impose standards for a “vaccine passport” system. Biden wants to use these passports to regulate public access to restaurants, airplanes, sports arenas, schools, theaters, and anywhere groups of people traditionally gather. Those lacking such a passport could be excluded.
This would be a shocking infringement on the ordinary liberty that Americans take for granted. Passports should only be for entry into a country, not to restrict movement within our United States. The courts have traditionally held there to be an implied “freedom of movement” granting citizens the right to move about freely within the United States. This right has only been restricted in narrow circumstances by law, such as when confining criminals. However, a vaccine passport system could effectively place large segments of the population under a form of house arrest if they refuse to get vaccinated.
Five officials within the Biden Administration have confirmed the desire for a vaccine passport scheme using smartphones to implement it. Access to our favorite restaurant or airport could be blocked based on failure to show a personal bar code to confirm vaccination. This sort of movement restriction is reminiscent of totalitarian nations like the communist East Germany, not of freedom-loving nations like the United States. Nonetheless, Biden’s staff is investigating how to ensure that the passport will be so widely used that there will be no way around it. At their core, vaccine passports for domestic travel are totally un-American. Their essence is incompatible with the clear principles of the Constitution. If anyone wants to get the vaccine, wear a mask, or take any other reasonable precaution, far be it from me to stop them from doing so. However, I cannot and will not abide by any scheme of the federal government to coerce me to put a drug into my body without my consent.