COVID-19 vaccine mandate arguments for four Lowcountry entities heard in federal court


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A federal court heard arguments from both sides of the aisle for vaccine mandates in the Lowcountry. The presiding judge combined four similar cases into one, as all of the cases had identical representation.

The arguments made Thursday, focused on the constitutionality of the vaccine mandates, and those who could lose their current jobs with the City of North Charleston, the City of Charleston, Charleston County, and the St. John’s Fire Department if they do not comply.

The prosecution, Tom Winslow and Tom Fernandez represented 125 individuals employed at the four different subsidiaries—which include first responders, clerks, and vendors. The prosecution claimed the mandate violates the South Carolina and the United States Constitution along with State Common Law. Even more, Governor McMaster set an executive order in May stating that no vaccine mandates will be made by the state.

The defense representing the government entities said that the mandates range from three executive orders to one legislative order and that Governor McMaster granted DHEC the control for vaccine mandates, which was then delegated to individual companies and organizations. They add that Governor McMaster’s comments were in reference to the Emergency Use Authorization stage of the vaccines and not the FDA fully approved vaccine that is Pfizer.

Unfortunately, we are focused on a problem—and not focused on a solution. 

Tom Winslow, Goldfinch Winslow at Law

The employee representation said the mandate not only is unconstitutional, but it will add to “labor shortages”. Winslow said, “when the argument is governmental efficiency and not having enough people to fill spots because you don’t pay people enough, how does it benefit governmental efficiency when you lose 500 employees”.

Meanwhile, the defense says that the areas of government that have experienced the most COVID-19 cases and exposures are from first responders. Even more, that COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for both police and firefighters since January 20-20. 

Adding that the vaccine is known to be most effective in preventing hospitalizations and death.

However, Winslow and Fernandez said, their plaintiffs have put their lives on the line each day since the pandemic began ahead of a vaccine rollout, and the lawsuit is not about the efficacy of the vaccine but the legality of the mandate. 

It doesn’t matter if the vaccine or the vaccination is 0% successful or if it’s 100% successful. This is about our personal liberties, as sons and daughters of our heavenly father, as citizens of these United States. 

Tom Fernandez, Fernandez Law

If and when a decision is made by the judge—we’ll be sure to update you both on-air and online.

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