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SC Sheriffs’ Association says they cannot enforce Biden vaccine mandate

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 6:11 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association said they cannot enforce President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, saying that they do not have the authority to enforce federal law.

“So, while South Carolina’s Sheriffs encourage you to consult with your doctor about your individual medical situation and whether the COVID-19 vaccine is appropriate for you, they cannot enforce the Executive Orders issued by President Biden on September 9, 2021,” association officials said in a statement released on Friday afternoon.

Biden’s administration’s rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly.

“Many have expressed concerns about these Executive Orders. Quite frankly, we all should be leery of government overreach on any level. South Carolina citizens should not, however, worry about their Sheriffs enforcing federal law,” officials with the sheriff’s association officials said.

The association said the state general assembly determines the duty of the sheriff through statute and that state sheriffs possess no “statutory authority” to enforce federal law including Presidential Executive orders. In addition, the association said the general assembly nor Gov. Henry McMaster have not used their authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations.

The SC Sheriffs’ Association released the following statement on Friday:

Sheriffs across South Carolina have received various inquiries from citizens and the media alike regarding the COVID-19 vaccination Executive Orders recently issued by President Biden. The current Executive Orders pertain to federal Executive Branch employees and federal contractors. While the Administration has asked the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result at least weekly, such rule does not currently exist and will require a notice and comment period prior to implementation. After the notice and comment periods end, the enactment of this rule will likely be further delayed as the courts will almost certainly be asked to determine the validity and constitutionality of the rule itself.

Many have expressed concerns about these Executive Orders. Quite frankly, we all should be leery of government overreach on any level. South Carolina citizens should not, however, worry about their Sheriffs enforcing federal law. In South Carolina, the Office of Sheriff is established in the State Constitution and the South Carolina General Assembly determines the duties of the Sheriff through statute. Ultimately, South Carolina Sheriffs possess no statutory authority to enforce federal law, including Presidential Executive Orders. Additionally, neither the South Carolina General Assembly nor the Governor have utilized their authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations. So, while South Carolina’s Sheriffs encourage you to consult with your doctor about your individual medical situation and whether the COVID-19 vaccine is appropriate for you, they cannot enforce the Executive Orders issued by President Biden on September 9, 2021.

As always, South Carolina Sheriffs will remain committed to fulfilling their Oaths of Office, protecting citizens’ rights and freedoms, and preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of this State and of the United States.

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