Thursday, July 25, 2024

Attorneys general file brief in federal travel mask mandate case

by BIZ Magazine

Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor

Attorneys general from 23 states have filed an amicus brief in a federal appeals court urging judges to uphold a ruling from earlier this year that struck down the mask mandate for interstate travel.

Four months ago, Florida U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle sided with the Health Freedom Defense Fund and two Florida residents. They claimed the restriction the Biden Administration announced Jan. 29, 2021, as part of its COVID-19 guidelines exceeded federal authority.

Led by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, the states’ attorneys general say in their 37-page filing that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pursued “expansive” measures in its handling of the pandemic. Officials from the states also remind the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that federal judges set several other CDC guidelines aside.

The states “share an interest in protecting their sovereign authority to enact quarantine measures of their choosing to combat the spread of disease in the manner best adapted to their distinctive local conditions – authority historically reserved to the states, as CDC’s own regulations reflect even today,” the brief states.

The CDC now recommends passengers in such places as airports and airplanes wear masks, but the mandate is no longer in effect. Still, the Biden Administration has asked the circuit court to intervene.

“It’s astonishing that Biden continues to fight to force mask passengers,” Moody said. “We are once again pushing back, in court, against his unlawful federal overreach.”

The states also claim the mask mandate is unlawful because it goes beyond the CDC’s ability to enforce sanitation measures. They also claim the federal government failed to review what steps states were taking or determine if those measures were sufficient.

Besides Florida, other attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia signed on to the brief.

“The district court’s ruling here correctly ended the Biden Administration’s mandate requiring all travelers to wear masks at airports, train stations, and other transportation hubs,” said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. “We joined this brief to support the court’s important ruling and ensure this mandate is not reinstated.”

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