This movie is interesting if you think about the constitutionality of a federal or state COVID mandate forcing you to cover your face if you choose not to, along with the possibility of kill zone detention centres.
First of all, federal mandates to order all Americans to wear masks would most likely be considered unconstitutional. The reason why this may be considered the case is because the federal government/Congress can’t pass a federal mandate forcing you to wear a mask because this type of law falls under the state police power. Basically, the federal government does not have the jurisdiction or a general police power to make laws about state health and safety conditions.
But here’s something to think about all these COVID mandates. If states wanted to pass COVID mandate laws, those laws would do little good. Why? There would be inconsistencies across the states where some states do pass a law while others do not. In the end, the states who did not pass a COVID mandate would just allow the COVID virus and its variants to spread across the USA- the same outcome would apply to countries, so COVID is here for good.
In terms of detaining people in concentration camps, Ex Parte Endo (1944) is the case to look at. Here, the Supreme Court said Japanese Americans cannot be held in detention camps in the USA. This case, along with the Guantanamo Bay cases, would most likely decide the outcome of any detention camps holding US citizens with COVID today.
Presently, all the federal government can do is suggest or nudge the states to pass a law forcing people to wear a mask. In some cases the federal government can offer money to incentivize states, which Dole vs South Dakota (1987) allows this to happen. But when it comes to ordering or commandeering states to pass a COVID law, the federal government can’t do it.
Now, here is the law about creating mandates for quarantine camps or “Q Zones” like in the movie. Establishing quarantine camps falls under the state police power to regulate the health, safety, welfare, and morals of its citizens. This state police power is the same power which creates mandatory seatbelt laws, car insurance laws, helmet laws, abortion bans, marijuana bans, or any state gun law in your state. Making quarantine camps does not fall in the jurisdiction of Congress or the federal government, but these detention camps fall with state jurisdiction; thus, you can have a state mandate to have quarantine detention camps.
The only thing the federal government can really do is tax you if you choose to not where a mask. NFIB vs Sebelius (2012) is the precedent, in particular the John Roberts opinion, to create such a tax (although such a tax could be construed as a penalty). The feds would just deduct that COVID tax from your tax refund- but how successful would that tax be given the current economy where people have no money, or how popular would that tax be in an election?
In terms of guidance and past law cases to address the issue of a state COVID mandate to vaccinate the public, we have two precedents. The first one is Jacobson vs Massachusetts (1905) where the state can vaccinate a person under the state police power. The other precedent is Buck v. Bell (1927) where the state could sterilize a person in the interest of state health and safety (Jacobson was favorbly cited in this case). These precedents would be the guidance in regard to a federal or state mandate to vaccinate people,
Of course, there is guidance , in the form of law cased, on states unable to pass health and safety laws, which could be handy in regards to state Covid mandate laws. To start, we look to Lochner v. New York (1905) and the Peckham majority (said the state government has the burden of proof and must defend it’s health and safety law). Here, a provisions of a state health and safety law was unconstitutional. Another case is Atkinsv v. Children’s Hospital (1923) which ruled a state law unconstitutional. These cases provides guidance on unconstitutional state health and safety laws.
The analysis for a federal mask mandate would have to include certain constitutional law cases and tests. First, the analysis would have to cite United States v. Darby (1934) and the substantial effects test. As well, Wickard v. Filburn (1942) and it’s aggregate test would need to be added. Second, you would need the Necessary and Proper test of McCulloch v. Maryland (1819). Thirdly you would need to address the issue of economic activity as laid out in the United States vs Lopez (1995) and Gonzales v. Raich (2005) cases. A federal mask mandate would need to jump through the hoops of these case to complete an analysis of a federal Covid mask mandate.
But what about a federal COVID mandate and the zombie apocalypse where you need 100 percent herd immunity? In that case, the courts would close down. Perhaps, a remedy could be gotten from the political world, but I wouldn’t count on it when disasters have a way of shutting down everything. Most likely, Marshall law would be declared and governments would fold their hands like what happened in Afghanistan. At that time, “other forces” would probably take over.
A little something should be said about the military and a federal or state mandate to vaccinate all soldiers. As most people know, there are lots of soldiers who will not get vaccinated. This being the case, if a soldier should not comply, that soldier could be court marshalled and discharged unhonorably. In that case, a large group of soldiers’ lives would be ruined (as the president’s secretary knows), along with their families.
Songbird offers a kind of horror story in those states where the state creates a COVID law to make its citizens wear masks. But if you think about one unintended consequence of this movie, it creates fear in the minds of Americans about Democrat/progressive states passing COVID mandates to cover your face and creating detention camps, if you choose not to cover your face.
In conclusion, this movie has a few messages. But first it should be said Congress most likely can’t pass a federal law forcing you to cover your face if you choose not to cover it. That is state jurisdiction and the states have a state police power to regulate the health, safety, welfare, and morals of it’s citizens, in some cases.