In a four-minute video, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem spelled out her libertarian beliefs on vaccine mandates and promised to “take every action available under the law” to protect the state’s citizens from President Joe Biden‘s “illegal vaccine mandates.”
After the Food and Drug Administration approved BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin imposed vaccine mandates on nursing home employees, federal employees and contractors, and military members.
Noem also responded to Americans who want her to prevent businesses from imposing vaccine mandates on their employees.
“Frankly, I don’t think that businesses should be mandating that their employees be vaccinated either,” she said. ”
And if they do mandate vaccines to their employees, they should be making religious and other exemptions available to them,” she added. “But I don’t have the authority as governor to tell them what to do.”
Many conservatives want state and local governments to protect them from losing their jobs, but Noem said this is inconsistent with the principles that keep South Dakota free.
“South Dakota is in a strong position because I did not overstep my authority,” she said.
Noem does not want to exceed her authority by preempting businesses’ vaccine mandates—even if it means that some citizens may lose their jobs for disobeying their employers.
“I didn’t trample on the rights of our people, and I’m not going to start now,” she said. “When leaders overstep their authority, that is how we break this country. And if government starts acting unconstitutionally, even if it’s doing something that we like, that is a dangerous path to walk down.
Noem’s communications director, Ian Fury, reminded conservatives about the Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop and Hobby Lobby cases, in which liberals wanted the government to mandate that businesses bake cakes for homosexual weddings and force nuns to pay for pills that prevent conception.
Noem said that “telling South Dakotans how to do business” will “destroy the freedom that made our state so strong.”
“We must be a nation of laws, and government must be constrained by the Constitution,” she said.