Justice Sotomayor Essentially Says the Government Should Regulate Us Like We Are Machines


You wake up on a Monday morning, stare out the window, think of the coffee awaiting you and say to yourself, “I really need to get in gear.”

Careful there, gearhead. You’re talking like you’re a machine. And you may be part of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Friday, in responding to arguments before the Court regarding the federal vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 workers, Justice Sonia Sotomayor raised this question: Why is a human “spewing a virus” not like a machine spewing sparks?

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Reuters reported Scott Keller, a law clerk for retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and current attorney representing 26 trade and business associations, argued against the mandate before the Court on Friday.

“If Congress was going to give an occupational health agency the type of power to essentially regulate directly the employee rather than telling employers these are the things that you would want to do within your workplace, it would have to provide that clearly,” Keller said, according to Mediaite.

“What’s the difference between this and telling employers where sparks are flying in the workplace, workers have to wear a mask?” Sotomayor asked.

“When sparks are flying in the workplace, that’s presumably because there’s a machine that’s unique to that workplace,” Keller responded.

Should people be treated like machines?

“Why is the human being [not] like a machine if it’s spewing a virus, bloodborne viruses,” Sotomayor asked. “Are you questioning Congress’ power or desire that [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] do this if already in 1991 it told OSHA to issue regulations with respect to Hep C and B?”

Think about that — equating a human with a machine.

But Sotomayor may be on to something.

Whether or not she knows it, she may have described exactly the problem we’re facing with vaccine mandates.

The problem is this: Human beings are not all alike. One-size-fits-all prescriptions are generally wrong and forcing them upon a population is even worse.

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A beauty of a machine or any manufactured good is that it can be made to uniform specifications. That’s how we get economies of scale embedded in assembly lines.

We can weigh the good, measure its size, standardize its production and performance and can statistically nail down its quality to some degree of uniformity.

But biology doesn’t work that way. Apples off the tree are different sizes and sometimes are of different qualities.

Marketers have to sell clothes in basic sizes based on mass-producing them for average human dimensions. Outside of those averages, you get specialty racks for petites and for big-and-tall.

And people of whatever large dimensions they may have experience the averaging effect as they struggle into airline seats.

We’re not machines. We’re not all alike.

The same thing works with medicines. After long-term testing, pharmaceutical companies must have enough safe, positive results from a new drug to be able to mass produce it at a profit.

Tragically, a drug may seemingly work miracles for some ailing people, but there may not be enough of those people to allow profitable production.

Again, we’re not machines and the medication may not work for everyone.

So in making that human-machine comparison, Sotomayor may have nailed the COVID mandate problem.

The federal government, using OSHA to pressure employers to enforce the obviously overreaching mandates, has decided we are all like machines.

As surely as a machine needs uniform maintenance procedures, we must get our one-two shots, then our booster (and our booster and our booster for who knows how many times), no matter the growing evidences of variances surrounding age, morbidities, natural immunity and more.

No, the government is acting as though we are all machines and we must have the same maintenance.

That uniformity is inappropriate given variability in human health characteristics. And, comrade, it may be underlying a lot of other leftist ideas.

Now, it’s obvious Sotomayor is not an epidemiologist. Of course. Nor is anyone on the Supreme Court.

And there’s nothing wrong with the justice using certain mundane illustrations to describe complex biological or technical issues or abstractions. (Think Jesus and parables.)

But the justice may have inadvertently explained why people are resisting the government mandates.

Many know that, despite the government’s push to vaccinate every American, vaccinated people are still spreading COVID and are coming down with the sickness. And though the majority of researchers have concluded the vaccines are generally safe and effective, there are reported vaccine side effects, too.

So people are digging in their heels. They are refusing to be treated as machines.

And that refusal is a very human thing to do.

The Western Journal has published this article in the interest of shedding light on stories about the COVID-19 vaccine and mandates that go largely unreported by the establishment media. In the same spirit, according to the most recent statistics from the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, 10,688 deaths have been reported among those who received a vaccine, or 21 out of every 1,000,000. By contrast, 829,740 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported by the CDC, or 21,835 out of every 1,000,000. In addition, it must be noted that VAERS reports can be filed by anyone and are unverified by the CDC. Thus, as the agency notes, “reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.” The decision to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is a personal one, and it is important to consider context when making that decision. — Ed. note

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.