“We Dare Defend our Rights,” reads Alabama’s official state motto. This maxim was put to the test during the Biden administration’s COVID-19 mandate campaign.
Emerging as a champion against federal overreach, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall employed every legal option at his disposal to combat federally instituted masking and vaccination decrees.
For his efforts, Marshall became subject to routine criticism from liberal in-state media and left-wing ideologues.
Undeterred by the political left’s opposition to his fight, Marshall insists that “if I worried about social media, I wouldn’t be doing this job very long.”
In a recent conversation with Yellowhammer News, Marshall detailed Alabama’s efforts to combat the administration’s unconstitutional pandemic-era decrees.
Nearly a year has passed since President Joe Biden announced his administration’s intentions to utilize the power of the federal government to mandate vaccination upon vast portions of the American public.
“One thing that we knew very quickly, not only in our office but our colleagues around the country, is that we would be part of this pushback against what we believed, and now has been confirmed, were the illegal actions of the administration,” said the attorney general.
When asked what the governing party’s motivations were in issuing the edicts, he suggested that they were acting on the concept that the federal government holds the power to embark on such an ambitious policy quest.
“I think the motivation is this belief that the federal government gets to make all the decisions, and that’s just simply not the way our constitutional structure works,” Marshall advised. “And specifically, within the context of federalism is the idea that a majority of the authority to govern the day-to-day lives of the people are left to the states and not the federal government as a whole.”
While garnering no support from left-wing media, Marshall noted the overwhelming support his office received from Alabamians over its fight against the administration’s pandemic rules.
“It’s almost universal support,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times I get stopped by people on the street, people that I see at the grocery store say, ‘Thank you for being willing to engage in that fight.’ … My job is to follow the rule of law and to embrace the sovereignty of Alabama to make decisions.”
According to Marshall, the administration’s actions were blatant assaults on state sovereignty. When such an infringement occurs, the attorney general declared that it is his duty to combat it.
“And when you see our Legislature clearly does not engage in any effort to legislate in this area that has historically been the role of states to decide inoculation regimes or vaccine policies involving its citizens, for the federal government to suddenly attempt to exercise power there, you know it’s my responsibility to push back,” he said.
For Marshall, utilizing the courts to push back against federal overreach extends well beyond COVID-19 mandates.
“Although much of the discussion here is kind of about vaccines and the overreach of the federal government, part of the reason we engage in these fights is not only the specific issue that’s involved and whether or not that violates the law, but also it’s really continuing to draw the line in the sand with the federal government about their authority and their ability to impact decisions that go on at the state level,” he said.
“To the extent we don’t fight, every time we give the federal government and inch they’re going to take a yard,” Marshall said. “And so, when we fight the spectrum of these cases, not just in the vaccines but in the cases in which we’re involved, there’s a broader policy of federalism and the rule of law in play. I think it’s very important for Alabama’s voice to be heard.
“I’m very pleased that I have the opportunity to work with colleagues across the country as we have these various battles.”
Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL
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