By JR Valrey, The Minister of Information
Attorney Allyssa Victory, Esq. is a serious progressive candidate, within the flood of contenders for the Oakland mayoral election of 2022. Having come from a legal background, and having worked heavily with Oakland’s city government, she may be the type of new blood that Oakland needs.
At the same time, Oakland, California, the nation, and world has been going through a pandemic shutdown, but within the last few months society has begun to get more active socially. Many people believe that the answer to ending the pandemic lies in EVERYONE getting vaccinated with one of three so-called “vaccines” in the U.S., which don’t prevent the vaccinated from contracting the virus, spreading the virus, getting sick from the virus, or dying from it.
Still there are others in our local society, who don’t believe or trust the government, mass media, or the big pharmaceutical corporations, and are willing to take their chances with Covid 19, which has above a 90% survival rate for most, among the population. With the Oakland Unified School District voting to be the first district in the nation to mandate its children to be vaccinated, and with city workers losing their jobs behind the vaccination mandates, a serious Oakland mayoral contender will have to weigh in on the highly controversial topic, of whether a candidate believes the people of Oakland have the right to choose what goes into their bodies, or whether the government has the right to mandate certain medical procedures and if citizens don’t abide, restrict one’s ability to function in the society.
Allyssa Victory, Esq. give her opinions about the vaccination mandates, as well as, two recent court cases, that may have a huge impact on vaccination mandates across the board. Here is mayoral candidate and attorney Allyssa Victory, Esq. in her own words.
Allyssa Victory: Can you talk about what happened recently in the Fifth Circuit, where Biden’s federal vaccine mandate was struck down as unconstitutional? What will the legal ramifications of this major legal decision be locally?
JR Valrey: The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”)’s proposed COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandate would have affected employers of 100 or more workers, an estimated two-thirds of the nation’s private-sector workforce. A legal challenge was filed immediately. The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted a preliminary injunction after finding that it was likely that the challengers can show that OSHA standards violate rules of free commerce, that the OSHA agency was the improper actor to issue the emergency standard, and that the standard was too broad. A preliminary injunction means that OSHA cannot enforce or implement the standard while the case is pending. The actual legal claims have not yet been decided.
Appeals were pending in 11 of 12 circuit courts across the U.S. On November 16, 2021, the Judicial Panel of Multi-district Litigation consolidated all petitions for review (including the Fifth Circuit ruling) before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit ruling has no impact on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) interim final rule for healthcare workers and President Biden’s Executive Order 14042 on mandatory vaccinations for contractors which is set to go into effect on January 18, 2022.
Locally, CalOSHA is our state parallel to the federal OSHA. CalOSHA confirmed that they will follow federal OSHA guidance to not proceed while the injunction is in effect. OSHA’s decision doesn’t prevent private employers from implementing their own vaccine requirements. For now, this will mean that the state and local governments may hold off on further attempts to issue or expand mandates until there is a final Court resolution.
JR Valrey: Can you talk about the Sixth Circuit’s recent decision to start bringing the lawsuits against the country’s vaccine mandate before the court, what do you you think the local ramifications of this major legal decision will be?
Allyssa Victory: Appeals or “petitions for review” were filed in 11 of the 12 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. On November 16, 2021, the Judicial Panel of Multi-district Litigation consolidated all petitions for review (including the Fifth Circuit ruling) before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit via a lottery system. The Sixth Circuit will ultimately determine whether to continue, alter, or lift the Fifth Circuit’s order of preliminary injunction. Final resolution on this issue may require review by the United States Supreme Court. California already has adopted requirements for health care workers to be vaccinated and state workers and teachers to be either vaccinated or tested. For now, this will mean that the state and local governments may hold off on further attempts to issue regulations or mandates until there is a final Court resolution. CalOSHA has confirmed that it will not proceed while the preliminary injunction is in place.
JR Valrey: Do you think that after these two major recent legal decisions that it is legal and ethical for the Oakland Unified School District to move forward with it’s mandatory vaccination program for the students?
Allyssa Victory: The recent major legal decisions granted a motion for a preliminary injunction which means the court has not yet decided the actual claims of the cases. A preliminary injunction’s goal is to preserve the status quo until there is a final resolution on the legal issues. Part of a final resolution may include a permanent injunction which would make such OSHA mandates permanently illegal. In the pending cases, the challenged OSHA regulation applies to employers, public and private, in the U.S. with 100 workers or more. The OUSD mandate only applies to public employees and public school students attending district schools in-person and will not be affected by the decisions in the recent cases.
The cases do not affect the statewide mandate for public schools. Pre-pandemic, public school children in CA were already required to show proof of vaccination against illnesses like measles, mumps, and rubella. CA became the first state to issue a vaccination mandate for public school children against COVID-19 directing the state’s Public Health Department to amend the state Health and Safety Code to include it. It is expected to be implemented in phases dependent on the age and grade of children. Like all mandates, there are exemptions available which include medical reasons and parents’ “personal beliefs”. Local school districts like OUSD, were encouraged by the state to implement their own ahead of state mandates. This practice is currently considered legal. OUSD’s proposed mandate will go into effect Jan. 1, applies to students who are eligible, and still includes medical and religious exemptions. However, the various rules and the ongoing legal battles that may change them are confusing for actual families and students to navigate. Ethics must consider transparency, education about what is being mandated and how to exercise exemptions, protection of personal information, and avoiding disparate impacts on our schoolchildren.
JR Valrey: With the legal precedent set of Biden’s federal mandatory vax agenda being legally shot down, how will that affect Oakland mandatory vax agenda; which has a deadline of Nov. 29 for all City of Oakland employees?
Allyssa Victory: The Fifth Circuit ruling has no direct impact on government mandates for public employees. The ruling is also a preliminary injunction which means that the substantive legal questions have not yet been decided by the Court. The current legal decisions will have no effect on the City of Oakland’s mandate for its employees set to go into effect November 29. To exercise exemptions, the City directs employees to upload associated documents for individual review by the Human Resources Department. Exempted employees may also be subject to more regular testing. Discrimination and retaliation are prohibited against anyone seeking or obtaining a vaccination exemption.