Federal Subsidy or Accessory? Biden Pledges to Effectively Subsidize Violations of State Laws By Teachers

There was a great deal of criticism of President Joe Biden’s press conference from his refusal to take questions on the Afghanistan situation to his calling for the use of Civil Rights laws to oppose any state laws barring mask mandates. One line however received little attention but contained a breathtaking and troubling pledge: “If a governor wants to cut the pay of the hard-working education leader who requires masks in a classroom, the money from the American rescue plan can be used to pay that person’s salary 100%.” With that line, Biden pledged to indemnify people who violate state laws, including orders upheld by the courts. For the states, one can understand if the line between a federal subsidy and a federal accessory is difficult to discern.

Biden’s call to use civil rights laws to challenge anti-mask mandates was itself controversial. Indeed, it could create another major loss for the Administration. The Administration racked up an impressive array string of losses by the first six months in court. That dubious record has continued. In states with anti-mask mandates, the states are making a public health decision. Such decisions (like those made by the CDC) are generally afforded great deference from the courts. These states believe that the health and educational costs for children outweigh the risks for the virus. Many disagree with that judgment but it is a policy that applies to all children and families equally.  That makes this a tough case to win.

Yet, that was not the promise that stood out in the press conference. Indeed, I assumed that I had misheard Biden in promising to pay teacher salaries and waited for transcripts.  What the President is saying is that the federal government will indemnify teachers who knowingly violate state laws. I cannot recall any such prior presidential pledge to subsidize unlawful conduct and it raises serious questions over the use of federal funds to encourage violations of lawful state orders. Again, many disagree with these orders but they are issued under state laws affording governors this power.

It is not clear where the funds would come from to fulfill the pledge. Obviously states were given most of the pandemic funds. Biden may be suggesting that districts that received the money for school expenses and programs could use them for funding defiant teachers. Alternatively, there might be money available through the Department of Education.

I previously criticized how the Congress appropriated trillions of dollars for states during the pandemic without any meaningful limits. This has allowed states like Ohio to literally giveaway millions of federal dollars as part of a state vaccine lottery.  President Biden has relied on the lack of limits in simply declaring that states should give people $100 for taking the vaccine.

Now this lack of any limits has allowed a president to pledge that he will pay the salaries of any teachers who knowingly violate their contracts and state law. Before we get to the legal and constitutional issues, Biden failed to put any practical limits on his pledge. He just told teachers to defy their state while assuring them that any lost wages will be indemnified. What if a teacher is suspended? Biden just promised to cover potentially years of lost wages.  What if the teacher is fired? Will the federal government effectively pay a pension? Indeed, this pledge could create a perverse incentive for states to move to dock or suspend pay to pass such costs to the federal government.

Legally, the President just pledged to indemnify the violation of state law. It is an attempt to do indirectly but he cannot do directly. The pledge is meant to circumvent federalism barriers for federal mandates. Biden has gone back and forth on such mandates. He has asserted that he has the power to impose mandates on states and then claimed that he does not. Most recently, Biden then said that he might use federal authority to bar anti-mark mandates. The position of the Biden Administration on the issue is now completely conflicted and incoherent. The only certainly is a pledge to pay the salaries of any teacher suspended or fired for violating state laws on such mandates.

Biden’s pledge was made after the Texas Supreme Court upheld one of the most cited anti-mask mandates. So the President is responding by promising to fund violations of an order found lawful and constitutional by the highest court in the state (which is usually the final word on such issues even for the United States Supreme Court).

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis adopted a rule that lets families opt out of locally ordered school mask mandates. In addition, the state board of education approved a policy to allow parents to use vouchers for their children to attend a different school if they encounter pushback on their refusal to use masks. Those orders have not been successfully challenged.

Biden is not alone in supporting such violations. Democrats in Washington have lionized Texas legislators who fled the state to prevent the passage of election reforms. These same Democrats have denounced the filibuster to block bills as a denial of democracy in Washington.  The Texas order for the arrest of the legislators has been upheld by the Texas Supreme Court.

The Texas Supreme Court issued a temporary block on mask mandates in Bexar and Dallas counties on Sunday evening. Even though the decision was not a final ruling on the merits, most schools complied and suspended their mask mandates. However, a lower court judge effectively reinstated the Bexar mandate for public schools. District Judge Antonia Arteaga declared  “I just wanted to apologize to all those parents, school administrators, the superheroes that we call teachers for what someone called the equivalent to a legal tug of war, unfortunately where our children are right in the middle.” There is no “tug of war” between a state supreme court and a lower court. The lower courts are supposed to carry out the rulings of the highest court in the state. Likewise, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins also claimed in a tweet that justices “did not strike down my face mask order.” It is true that the Supreme Court did not issue a final order but felt that there was sufficient support to lift the lower orders pending any decision. However, there are conflicting rulings on these mask mandates that the state courts are working through as part of expedited appeals.

The sharp public disagreements between these courts is unusual but will be quickly sorted out in the issuance of final orders. What President Biden is pledging is something entirely different. He is promising that, despite what the courts rule, the federal government will subsidize continued defiance of state law. Imagine if Texas pledged to subsidize any CDC employee who refused to carry out public health care orders or any border official who refused to release undocumented persons into the country. It would be immediately denounced as an attack on federal authority under the Constitution.

Biden’s pledge could create some new law. The Supreme Court has long held that it is unconstitutional to coerce or commandeer states to undermine their authority under federalism guarantees. Now a president is openly calling for the defiance of state laws by state employees and promising to financially support such violations. He is moving from commandeering state legislatures to commandeering state employees.

When he ran in 2020, President Biden promised that he would end Trump’s disrespect for the courts and return the country to “the rule of law, our Constitution.” Subsidizing the violation of state law is a curious way to fulfill that earlier pledge.




219 thoughts on “Federal Subsidy or Accessory? Biden Pledges to Effectively Subsidize Violations of State Laws By Teachers”

  1. A lawless election has led to a lawless President trying to consolidate all power into the state. Fascism.

  2. Just another example of National Government overreach enabled by USC 17th amendment. Time to neuter 17A as first step in reestablishing our constituionally restrained Federal Government.

  3. Jonathan: Following up my earlier comment you prat a lot about the “free speech” rights of teachers and professors–at least those who are conservative. Here is a case you could get your teeth into. In Utah yesterday a high school teacher was dismissed ( put on administrative leave) because of something she told her students. Leah Kinyon, who taught at Lehi High School, told her students: “I hate Donald Trump. I’m going to say it. I don’t care what y’all think…This is my classroom and if you guys are going to put me at risk, you are going to hear about it…I have to be here and I don’t have to be happy about the fact that there are kids coming in here with the variants and could get me and my family sick. That’s rude…” Lehi doesn’t have a mask mandate. The Alpine School District says in it’s “Update Letter” (8/18/21): “Families should make their own decisions about when and where their child will wear a face mask at school”. Music to the ears of Governors Abbott/DeSantis and anti-maskers everywhere. Now if you are truly a “free speech originalist” where is your outrage over Ms. Kinyon’s dismissal? Maybe she could be criticized for her anti-Trump comments but it would seem she was justified in voicing her concerns that many of her students were not wearing masks in the classroom. All the medical data indicates kids are the first group to spread the virus around among fellow students, family and friends so Ms. Kinyon had a rational basis for her concern. However, I won’t hold my breath to see if you comment on this outrage.

    On a related subject, in progressive California Gov. Newsom imposed a mask mandate for all school children. The Orange County Board of Education, the hotbed of conservative anti-vac and anti-mask sentiment in So Cal, sued the Governor. The California S.C. just refused to hear Orange County’s petition. Another loss for you and the anti-mask crowd!

    1. Of course the Europeans & Aussies say the ‘science’ is against ever masking under 6s, and only masking 7-12 year olds in the classroom if they’re advanced enough to be placed in middle school. So nice to follow the ‘settled’ science.

  4. This is the senile apparatchik Joe the shmo we all know. He can’t help himself being a diktater. Being a pontifical lying & plagiarizing political worm he HAS ALWAYS been this kind of authoritarian grab is a natural thing for him. The constitution matters not to this senile corrupt old toad. He does whatever his handlers tell him to do , whether by notecards or rewards of ice cream , and pudding on Thursdays if he really is a good boy.
    This kind of sedition is IMPEACHABLE. But the riff raff in DC look the other way…it’s all about the payola and corruption . Oh and the power…. how they seek ever more control , and it shows. Well the sheeple and apparatchiks seem to be blessed with deaf dumb and blindness as they willingly go along and even do the dirty work of this unconstitutional regime of racist demokratzi lineage. Wake up America…Baizou Biden is not doing anything in the citizens or country’s interest. It’s all party and joe UBER ALLES.

  5. Biden’s Hostage Crisis

    He abandoned some 15,000 Americans in Afghanistan. They are now Taliban hostages.

    Want to repeat, again, how he has restored “decency” to America? Want to dare claim that his first concern is for the lives of *Americans*?

    Just as he has a callous disregard for the truth, so he has a grotesque disregard for the lives of individual Americans.

    What we’re witnessing in Afghanistan is the triumph of the social “justice” warriors: “You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs.” If those “eggs” happen to be innocent Americans, then so be it.

    1. He is going home to Delaware at 2pm today for yet another long weekend away –after he delivers prepared remarks on the situation. Will he take any questions that have not been pre-screened in advance? Of course not. He can’t handle it. They will feed him prescreened, preselected questions to which he will refer to his scripted notecards to answer.

      UK Parliament just passed a measure holding US President Biden in contempt for his mishandling the pullout in Afghanistan!

      “American is back!” What….a….load…of….crap.

      BIDEN DOES NOT CARE because he is a senile corrupt incompetent self-enriching stupid foolish arrogant politician who thinks ‘this too will pass” because he has friendly media always propping up his sorry corrupt a$$.

      Now Kamala is flying off to where? Vietnam. VIETNAM! Will she visit SAIGON? Holy crap these people JUST DON’T CARE because they are Democrats who have friendly media running cover for them, continually.

      1. UPDATE…..Oh so now Biden has been shamed into changing his plans to leave for his home at 2pm today. Now he will stay in DC. At least until tomorrow. This man is an arrogant SOB who deserves nothing but contempt.

  6. Iowa Department of Public Health has classified COVID-19 as endemic.

    Marion County Public Health Director Kim Dorn says this means it’s likely to not simply disappear.

    “It is endemic in the population. What that means is it’s just expected to be there, kind of like the flu during flu season. I think people are hoping this will go away, but it’s not going to go away. Endemic means to assume it to be in the population, and that we’re going to have to learn to live with this.”

    This is what the scientists have been saying for more than a year. Covid is not going away. ZERO has always been the false talking point. We are never going to be rid of the virus.
    Go to the link. There is lots good common sense citing of a century of virus response protocols. They look nothing like the fiasco hoisted on this nations by “experts”
    One of the public health officials explained they ceased tracking ‘cases’ because it means nothing and instead focus and treatment responses.


  7. It’s worse than we thought. Mike Pompeo had an extensive plan in place for evacuation from Afghanistan. The Biden people cancelled and defunded that plan.


    Now Macron and Putin and the Prime Minister of Italy are talking about what can be done to protect people in Afghanistan. Trudeau of Canada called Hillary Clinton. Putin! Clinton! Do we have a president?

    Nobody with any sense even thinks of calling Biden. What’s the point? He’s incompetent. And, he has such a startling ability “to f– things up.”

    China sent us the Wuhan virus. I wonder if they installed Biden too?

    1. The Trump Administration didn’t process a single Special Immigrant Visa application after signing the agreement with the Taliban. Why not?

      1. It is clear to all, the President of the United States does not ‘process’ a single document. Who does?

        But there’s another level of resistance to the new president that is less visible and potentially more troublesome to the administration: a growing wave of opposition from the federal workers charged with implementing any new president’s agenda.


        None of this is “news” to anyone that is nominally exposed to current events.

      2. In case you hadn’t noticed, Donald Trump os not president of the United States anymore. Joe Biden is president of the United States. This is on his watch, no one else’s.

      3. You are right. Afghans who helped us have had applications for Special Immigration Visas pending for more than 1 1/2 years. I saw interviews with two of them yesterday.

  8. The United State is on the path to Dystopia. Seems daily something new is proposed or becomes enforceable by law. Language use is now being denied for countering the “LANGUAGE BOSS” you will obey or face censorship. Many issue actions with mandated enforced on the population’s daily lives. Bureaucrat(s) that can’t either tell the whole truth or lies outright, media that broadcasts known untruths. Elected representatives who seem to care not about who gets hurt with their proclamations? What a future surely we are headed to if the radical left continues to define America’s society.

    These devotee Tyrants, that they are, could be defined in the greater sense as Retrograde defined by Oxford Dictionary; “There are dozens of less retrograde travelers in whose hoofprints we will also be journeying, for whom the pleasures of Eastern travel were not so strictly identical with the sublime egotism of Western identity formation.”——–

    These Dystopia Tyrants are defined in “Man and Superman” “Maxims for Revolutionists Idolatry” by Shaw with these few lines:

    The art of government is the organization of idolatry.
    The bureaucracy consists of functionaries; the
    Aristocracy of idols; the democracy of idolators.
    The populace cannot understand the bureaucracy; it can
    Only worship the national idols. “

    Future yet he said;
    “Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few”.

Comments are closed.