The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is foremost among a number of federal agencies being sued by 21 states in a new lawsuit led by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
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The lawsuit argues that federal agencies, particularly the CDC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Transportation Security Administration, never had the authority to issue such a mask mandate.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made ‘unprecedented assertion[s] of power’,” the lawsuit states. “It has done so principally under 42 U.S.C. § 264, a statute authorizing traditional quarantine measures ‘directly relate[d] to preventing the interstate spread of disease by identifying, isolating, and destroying the disease itself’.”
“The CDC has relied on this statute, for example, to prohibit evictions nationwide, to shut down the nation’s cruise industry for over a year, and to impose economy-wide mask requirements—including for toddlers as young as two—at transportation hubs and while traveling on non-private conveyances, which include aircrafts, trains, road vehicles, and ships.”
“Faced with a government that displays outright disdain for the limits on its power—especially when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic—Plaintiffs seek vacatur [elimination] of that mask mandate and a permanent injunction against its enforcement,” the lawsuit adds.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the state executive leading one of the 21 states’ lawsuit, appeared with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who argued that the federal agencies “never had the power to issue” the mask mandates.
“President Biden’s shortsighted, heavy-handed, and unlawful travel policies are frustrating travelers and causing chaos on public transportation,” Moody said, adding that “almost 75 % of these unruly, sometimes violent, incidents are based on this unlawful mask mandate. I know that if you travel at all, everywhere you go, people are frustrated and taking it out on the employees that are charged with enforcing this rule, that they have to wear a mask when this is an unfounded rule and order.”