Courts "always follow the science" and will uphold mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for groups like government employees or schoolchildren if it is shown that doing so will significantly ease the spread of the disease, Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax Wednesday.
"The first right is to be safe from the disease and to make sure that all of the people the doctors, the politicians follow the science," Dershowitz told Newsmax's "John Bachman Now." "You may criticize the president or the head of the CDC, or whatever for changing their mind, but of course, they should change their minds. The data has changed. Science has changed. We have to keep up with the science."
While it's important to preserve the maximum rights of individuals, the rights of the people who would catch COVID-19 from the unvaccinated people must also be kept in mind, he continued.
"You know the law will follow the science and if the science tells us that mandatory vaccinations for government employees or for school children will significantly ease the burden of the disease, the courts will uphold that," said Dershowitz.
He acknowledged that there are times to be skeptical of scientists, including at this point, when Americans don't know as much as they should know about COVID-19 or its variants.
"I can only tell you that the courts will uphold reasonable measures that are designed to protect other people," said Dershowitz. "You can refuse to take medical care. If somebody diagnoses you with cancer, and you say sorry, I don't want to have surgery. That's your right."
But when the diagnosis is about a contagious disease, personal rights "have to be balanced against the rights of others," said Dershowitz.
"If you want to stay home, fine," he said. "If you don't want to send your kids to school and home school them, fine. But if you want to expose others to the disease, then we have to balance your rights against the rights of others who might be affected. That's what the law says."
Precedent also stands with the balance of personal rights and the rights of the public, including historically all the way back to President George Washington.
"I've actually seen this letter of President George Washington before he was president when he wrote a memo to his troops during the Revolutionary War in which he demanded that all soldiers be vaccinated in the most primitive way against smallpox," said Dershowitz. "He didn't want to see smallpox spread through the army because that could hurt the revolutionary cause."
But at the same time, there are concerns about forcing medical treatment on people against their will, Dershowitz said, noting that President Joe Biden has called mandatory vaccines a "last alternative," but if that happens, the courts will likely back him up.
Meanwhile, it's important not to politicize science, but to keep matters objective and "try to get people to agree without regard as to whether they're Democrats or Republicans," said Dershowitz.
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