JACKSON: Liberty’s second chance

This division of powers between the federal and state governments is not just a technicality but was adopted to protect each citizen’s civil liberties

The North Carolina Supreme Court. (North State Journal)

Ever since the coronavirus invaded America, our civil liberties have been eroded.

National and state leaders tore up the Constitution and tossed it aside in favor of “best practices” that were made up from pure fiction. North Carolina was not spared from this tyranny. Citizens were mandated to wear masks to go out. Churches were closed, while many businesses and workers were deemed non-essential. On top of all that, families watched their loved ones die in isolation because hospitals had prevented them from seeing each other.


Additionally, parental rights were ignored as students were forced to be vaccinated against their parents’ wishes. This is what transpired in the Guilford County School System to Emily Happel and her son Tanner. Forced vaccination stands in direct opposition to both the United States and North Carolina Constitutions.

This egregious violation of parental rights prompted a lawsuit from Mrs. Happel and her son. Despite agreeing that the school system was overstepping its authority, the N.C. Court of Appeals upheld a dismissal of Mrs. Happel’s lawsuit against the school. According to the judges on this court, the federal PREP Act (Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act) prevented the lawsuit against the school for their forcible vaccination.

Mrs. Happel has since appealed this case up to the state Supreme Court, and eight members of the North Carolina General Assembly have joined the case with amicus briefs. The N.C. Supreme Court has chosen to review this case, and the plaintiffs hope that this will finally bring about a just outcome and prevent this from ever happening again.

As one of the members of the General Assembly that submitted amicus briefs on behalf of the Happels, I agree the PREP Act does not grant immunity from liability to a school system which disregards state law and parental rights. Dismissal of the Happel case on preemption grounds is also in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. If the defendants were correct in this case, it would mean that a state such as North Carolina cannot use state law to hold state-created entities accountable in state courts.

The Tenth Amendment clearly articulates that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The North Carolina Supreme Court now has an opportunity to reinforce this principle of dual federal-state sovereignty that is fundamental to our constitutional order.

This division of powers between the federal and state governments is not just a technicality but was adopted to protect each citizen’s civil liberties. The North Carolina Supreme Court should take this opportunity to affirm that there is no “pandemic exception” to the civil liberties granted in the Constitution.

Rep. Neal Jackson (R-78) represents Randolph and Moore counties in the North Carolina General Assembly.