There should be "full adjudication" on the issue of COVID-19 vaccine mandates before anyone makes final decisions on whether to enforce them, and the Supreme Court will likely uphold religious exemptions as a valid reason for not being required to have the shots, Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax.
"The Second Circuit just [Friday] in New York ruled that a religious exemption was not required by the Constitution [and] that's being appealed to the Supreme Court," the Harvard Law professor emeritus told "Saturday Report." "The question I put to most religious leaders is this: On what basis is there a religious exemption?"
Dershowitz pointed out, the Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim religious groups do not oppose vaccinations "unless it's individuals interpreting religion."
"The Supreme Court has held, but if there's a religious exemption, there has to also be an ideological political exemption," Dershowitz said.
He added he does not favor vaccination mandates if that is the first option in fighting disease.
"I'm in favor of it being the absolute last resort, if necessary," Dershowitz said.
However, when it comes to military mandates, Dershowitz noted members are required to have shots against malaria and other diseases, as "once you're in the military, you don't have the same rights as ordinary civilians do, but you have rights. I do agree that these things would be adjudicated before anybody makes any final decisions about either injecting somebody or firing something. It has to go through the courts first."
Meanwhile, there have been other cases concerning vaccine mandates discussed, and late President George Washington famously ordered his troops to be vaccinated against smallpox, and while those cases are relevant, they did not set precedent, Dershowitz said.
"The court is going to have to decide a new issue, and that concerns a disease that can be fatal but oftentimes isn't," he continued.
"Everybody has to make their own decision, but remember, too, this not only involves you and me, it involves people we come in contact with," Dershowitz said. "If this was a vaccination to prevent cancer or heart disease, we would be perfectly [within our] right not to take it, but if it's communicable, if it's transmittable, then you have to balance the rights of other people against your individual right – and the courts will make that decision."
If that happens, Dershowitz said he expects the courts to decide, in extreme cases, "vaccinations can be" mandatory.
"And I think the courts will decide that," he continued. "In extreme cases, vaccination can be required, but there will have to be exemptions for medical, perhaps for religious reasons."
Dershowitz also discussed the trial of accused shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, after a judge in the case ruled prosecutors cannot call the street protesters he is on trial for allegedly shooting "victims."
"You have to call them alleged victims until there's proof beyond a reasonable doubt," Dershowitz said. "The word 'victim' is thrown around much too loosely. Everybody is entitled to call themselves a victim, but we have a presumption of innocence. Presumption of innocence doesn't allow the prosecution to use words that presuppose guilt."
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