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Political Litigation

Republican Lawmakers Sue to End C.D.C.’s Airplane Mask Mandate

— March 16, 2022

One conservative lawmaker observed that, even as the C.D.C. continues to extend its mask mandates, State of the Union attendees were allowed to discard their face coverings at will.

A group of Republican lawmakers have filed a lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arguing that consumers should no longer be compelled to wear masks aboard domestic flights.

According to Newsweek, the lawsuit was filed Monday by 16 conservative legislators.

The group, says Newsweek, is led by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Collectively, the Republicans have condemned the C.D.C.’s “illegal mask mandates for individuals traveling on commercial airlines.”

The lawsuit states that Congress never approved a mask mandate, and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacks the regulatory authority to impose and enforce it.

The mask requirement, adds Newsweek, was recently extended through April 18 by the Transportation Security Administration. The T.S.A.’s decision was largely based off Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance recommending that masks be worn in airplanes, buses, and transportation centers.

However, Rep. Massie and his colleagues blasted the C.D.C.’s continued recommendations as “unscientific.”

A woman wearing an N95-style mask. Image via Pexels. Public domain.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not have the legal authority to force people traveling on commercial airlines to wear masks,” Massie said. “Congress never passed a law requiring masks on commercial flights.”

“This lawsuit targets the faceless bureaucrats who are behind the C.D.C.’s unscientific regulation so that this illegal mask mandate can be brought to a permanent end,” he said.

Another Republican supporting the lawsuit, Rep. Warren Davison (R-OH), released a press statement in which he suggested that most Americans no longer wish to wear masks in airplanes and other public spaces.

“Americans are fed up with political measures linked to public health and deserve representation that will take action to bring these unconstitutional mask mandates to an end,” Davison said.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) opined that the C.D.C. and other federal agencies seem to be holding Americans to a high standard—a standard that has, in recent months, become increasingly neglected even by high-profile Democrats.

“From the start of the pandemic, the C.D.C. has issued arbitrary and brazenly politicized guidance that was not authorized by Congress,” Roy said. “Never was this more obvious than at the State of the Union where attendees were told they could go mask-less just days before the C.D.C. renewed its mask mandate on public transportation.”

“It’s time to end this fear-driven tyranny,” Roy said. “I am proud to join my good friend Rep. Thomas Massie in this lawsuit.”

Rep. Massie’s House website notes that the lawsuit, Massie et al v. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.

The complaint names as defendants the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, C.D.C. Director Rochelle P. Walensky, and C.D.C. Chief of Staff Sherri A. Berger.


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