“All of our rights come from the Creator,” says attorney Jeff Childers. “They don’t come from government. Our constitutional rights are supposed to be a reflection of our God-given freedoms.”
In a recent episode of EpochTV's “American Thought Leaders,” host Jan Jekielek speaks with Childers, a bankruptcy attorney in Gainesville, Florida, who found himself stunned by the sudden imposition of a mandatory mask mandate. He launched himself into constitutional law and got the first appellate decision in the country finding mandatory masking presumptively unconstitutional.
In the past two years, Childers has battled in the courtroom against vaccine mandates and “hospital kidnappings.” After many lawyers reached out to Childers for advice, he set up an informal network around the country to share information and to help them launch similar lawsuits in their states.
I was watching the first county commission meeting I had ever seen. When those commissioners passed the first countywide mandatory mask mandate in the state of Florida, something grabbed me in an almost spiritual way.
I looked at my wife and said, “There’s no way that’s constitutional. They can’t tell us we have to strap something to our faces. That’s insane.”
Now, I had never practiced constitutional or civil rights law in my entire career. I didn’t even know where to start.
But I fired off a demand letter to the county commission, hit the books, and within a week or two, I filed my first complaint against any government entity. I didn’t even know where to serve it. Who do you give it to, the mayor? I had to figure all that stuff out.
And as I do with any case with novel issues, I called my peers for advice. And every one of them said, “Jeff, why are you throwing your career away over this?” It was a real gut check. These are people I have profound respect for.
But I decided to push through and tackle it. And the result put me into the middle of the hurricane. We won. We won on appeal. We got the only appellate decision in the entire country, as far as I know, finding that mandatory masking was presumptively unconstitutional.
This was the summer of 2020, the peak of mask hysteria, and there were very few attorneys willing to take these cases.
We started to get all kinds of cases, and very quickly, we challenged the vaccines. On my first vaccine case, we won, as far as I know, the first broad preliminary injunction against the government vaccine mandate in the country. We got death threats over that one.
I started to be more in tune with suggestions that I felt were coming from a divine source, that weren’t anything I would’ve thought of on my own. The idea, for example, that I would sue the government would’ve never occurred to me.
So I had this spiritual conviction that what was happening was morally and ethically wrong. All of our rights come from the Creator. They don’t come from government. Our constitutional rights are supposed to be a reflection of our God-given freedoms.
And that’s so remarkable. We’re seeing a revolution among the apolitical, among people who felt that if they minded their own business, did their job, took care of their kids, and participated in their community, everything would be fine. I don’t think they feel that way anymore. My wife is one of them.
When parents saw what their kids were being taught in those Zoom classes, it horrified them. Again, they had this worldview, which was shaped by how school was when they went to school. Reading, writing, arithmetic, class projects, Americana, that kind of thing. What they saw was completely different, and it just shredded their concept of ordered liberty.
Our public officials made horrible mistakes in the way they handled this pandemic. They made short-term expedient decisions to control an uncontrollable virus without considering the consequences. Sure, you can keep the folks locked down for a while, but they’re going to come out, and they’re going to see if those decisions made sense.
We’re entering that phase now, the phase of accountability in which people are saying, “Was it worth it?” And the folks who were responsible are at some point going to be held accountable for the decisions they made.
I can’t tell you how many calls we got from panicked relatives who wanted us to use the legal process to force hospitals to offer patients alternative treatments or let them go. And the hospitals wouldn’t do either one.
In one case, three corporate law firms were hired by a hospital to defend the hospital’s position and keep that patient in the hospital when all the relatives wanted to get him out. The hospital said he wasn’t sufficiently stable to move. The relatives said they were willing to sign whatever releases the hospital wanted. They wanted him off the ventilator and in a different facility. We had a facility that was willing to take him and a doctor who was willing to take over his care, but the hospital probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting us to keep him in the hospital.
That’s what I call a hospital kidnapping case. It doesn’t make any sense. If you’re the patient and you don’t want them to treat you anymore, why can’t you make that decision in a free country?
When I first started litigating with these COVID-19 cases, judges didn’t want to hear anything about it. They were totally close-minded. They have to run for election. What judge in the summer of 2020 wanted to be the anti-mask judge?
It’s different now. I got an oral ruling from a federal judge in the Pensacola division. He called out this hospital we were suing for their totally irrational vaccine mandate. He didn’t give me the relief I wanted, but he went on and on about how disgusted he was about this irrational policy. I couldn’t have gotten that during the first year of the pandemic.
We’re also seeing study after study critical of the vaccines and the masking. When you add them up, there’s a body of scholarship forming that’s outside the control of the government.
So when I go into court next year, I’m going to have more ammunition. When I started, I had nothing to work with. It was all just people’s hypotheses and what Dr. Anthony Fauci said. Now, I can point to all these studies. So there will be accountability. I can’t tell you how long it’s going to take. We’re up against well-organized, well-resourced opponents who aren't going to give in easily. They can slow it down, but they can’t hold it back forever. We will get accountability.