President Joe Biden has been receiving harsh criticism for his recent decision to use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reinstate the nationwide evictions moratorium that he has already admitted he knows is unconstitutional.
Biden was just getting started with making bold promises that appear legally questionable. The Texas Supreme Court recently upheld Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s rule against COVID masking mandates issued by local school boards.
Joe Biden made an extraordinary response to that court ruling and similar rules being put in place by Republican governors around the country.
In a press conference last week, he said that if any governor wants to stop the paychecks of any hard-working education leader requiring masks in classrooms, he could direct the state employee’s salary to be paid 100% from funds allocated to the federal American Rescue Plan.
Constitutional Law Professor and Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley wrote in a column that with that single statement, Biden was pledging to repay people who willfully violated state laws, including those upheld by state supreme courts.
Turley wrote that he at first assumed he misheard what Biden said. He added that he could not remember any presidential promise to subsidize knowingly illegal conduct at any time in the country’s history. Serious questions are raised by the idea of using federal taxpayer money to promote intentional violations of lawful state orders.
He continued by stating that Biden’s promise was vague about where actual funding could be found to send federal paychecks to defiant state-level educators. Biden may intend to order local governments to use funds already allocated for COVID-related school expenses and disease control measures. Turley speculated that Biden might also use money in the hands of the federal Department of Education.
Turley also noticed that Biden did not specify any limitation to his promise, simply telling state employees that they could freely defy legal orders and he would cover any lost payroll. The president’s promise did not address the situation that would arise if a teacher is fired or suspended or benefits such as pensions or health insurance are affected.
By interfering with local contractual relationships, Biden’s reckless promise creates incentives for illegal behavior that will predictably result in yet more damage to American students, parents, and taxpayers.