AG urges federal court to affirm ruling to block public transit mask mandate

FILE - Patrick Foye, Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, hands out...
FILE - Patrick Foye, Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, hands out face masks on a New York subway, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. He announced at a news conference a regional "Mask Force" that encourages universal mask usage on public transit.(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 1:47 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Attorney General Derek Schmidt has urged a federal court to affirm a lower court ruling to block the public transit mask mandate.

Kansas Attorney General Derk Schmidt says late Monday night, Aug. 8, he urged a federal appeals court to affirm a lower-court ruling from earlier in 2022 which blocked the Biden administration from requiring masks on public transit - including commercial airlines.

In a brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, AG Schmidt - along with 21 other state attorneys general and the solicitor general of Iowa - argued that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not have the authority to impose the mask mandate.

In addition, Schmidt said the states argued that the mandate is invalid because it failed to go through proper notice and comment procedures, is arbitrary and capricious and violated the CDC’s own regulations.

“Throughout the pandemic, this administration has turned to novel, expansive, and dubious readings of its authorities,” the brief states. “CDC has been among the worst offenders, making ‘unprecedented assertion[s] of power.’ It has not fared well. The Supreme Court summarily rejected CDC’s position that 42 U.S.C. § 264 authorized a nationwide eviction moratorium. CDC’s order grounding cruise ships also was soundly rejected. It is now déjà vu all over again, as CDC advances still another novel interpretation of section 264 in support of an unprecedented masking mandate regulating every breath of millions of Americans. The Court should reject CDC’s latest overreach and affirm [the District Court’s ruling].”

Schmidt said the amicus brief was filed in support of the plaintiffs in Health Freedom Defense Fund Inc. v. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the United States.

The AG previously said he filed a separate lawsuit against the Biden administration which seeks to end the public transit-making mandate. It said the case is stayed pending the decision in the 11th circuit case.

Schmidt noted that he challenged numerous federal mandates since the fall of 2021 when the Biden administration announced several vaccines and mask mandates as part of it approach to combating COVID-19.

Schmidt also indicated that he has obtained federal court injunctions to block the OSHA vaccine mandate for private employers, the federal contractor vaccine and the Head Start vaccine and mask mandate.

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