Madison Cawthorn, a federal employee playing an important part in the democratic process as an elected official in the US House of Representatives, seems to know staggeringly little about how government actually works. Especially the US Constitution.
The representative from North Carolina appeared on a right wing news network on Thursday to invent protections against getting vaccinated amid rumblings that the next federal mandate to encourage Americans to get vaccinated may be targeting the airline industry. Many anti-vaxxers are worried that either airlines will ask for proof of vaccination to fly, or that the federal government could mandate it through the Federal Aviation Administration or other governing bodies.
The measures would effectively force people to get vaccinated if they wanted to use air travel, and similar mandates for train travel could impact tourists, travelers heading home for the holidays and business travel in the coming months. But while nothing is official just yet, Cawthorn and other conservatives are already railing against hypothetical measures. And on Thursday, Calwthorn falsely stated that Americans would have their constitutional rights violated because it’s written in the document that people have a right to fly without restrictions.
Constitutional scholar Madison Cawthorn says it would be illegal for airlines to require vaccines because, “you actually have a constitutionally protected right to free, unrestricted travel within the United States.” pic.twitter.com/CgzrUy7wU0
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) September 16, 2021
“This is a medical apartheid, plain and simple,” Cawthorn said before making up things in the US Constitution. “I think that’s actually a constitutional violation, because you actually have a constitutionally protected right to free, unrestricted travel within the United States.”
Cawthorn then said that he’s “very confident” if airlines like United decide to institute vaccine mandates themselves he thinks another airline will “come to the field” to take money from unvaccinated conservatives.
But the thing about “unrestricted travel within the United States” is that, well, it doesn’t exist. People take tests for drivers licenses, for example, so there are clearly some checks and balances on what you are allowed to do and how you can travel.
And there are, of course, a lot of restrictions when it comes to flying. Whether it be what’s allowed on airplanes and through security in a post-9/11 world and whether airlines let sick passengers travel regardless of illness. There’s still a literal no-fly list two decades after 9/11. So while Cawthorn is already prepared to cry foul of restrictions that don’t exist, his reasoning for outrage is all wrong here. Which is why people had a lot of fun with his rambling on social media.
lmao you don't have a constitutional right to go on an airplane ya ding dong https://t.co/TIVjkrA82R
— 🍂🍂Imani Gandied Apples🍁🍁 (@AngryBlackLady) September 16, 2021
Madison Cawthorn says it would be unconstitutional for airlines to require vaccines because "you actually have a constitutionally protected right to free, unrestricted travel within the United States.”
What a buffoon. https://t.co/7cCbkbFy1s
— Duty To Warn 🔉 (@duty2warn) September 17, 2021
Wait, Madison Cawthorn thinks the Constitution protects the right to get on an airplane? What is it with Trump and his cronies thinking airplanes have been around since the 1700s?
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) September 17, 2021
I found Madison Cawthorn's new airline: Delta Variant pic.twitter.com/xLAq5Je2jw
— Robert Johnson (@Rob184rob) September 16, 2021
So is Madison Cawthorn also in favor of removing ID requirements for flying? And eliminating security checkpoints and metal detectors? https://t.co/yS7DdPdpyJ
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) September 16, 2021
Madison Cawthorn: “You actually have a constitutionally protected right to free, unrestricted travel within the United States.”
Founding Fathers: “Huh?”
— Gabe Sanchez (@iamgabesanchez) September 16, 2021
The matter was enough to get Cawthorn’s name trending on Twitter, which was probably the point of all this anyway. But someone really needs to get him to read, like, several books on the US government. Please.