FederalJudicialTexas Congresswoman, Attorney General Sue to Stop Flight Mask Mandate

The lawsuit alleges that the CDC’s mask mandate for commercial airlines, conveyances, and transportation hubs exceeds its authority.
February 16, 2022
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Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX-24) and the State of Texas filed a lawsuit in a federal district court on Wednesday against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an attempt to halt the enforcement of the Biden administration’s order mandating masks on flights and at transportation hubs.

“With their constantly changing science, fluctuating recommendations and oppressive need to control all aspects of society, the CDC has caused our country untold damage,” said Van Duyne in a press release. “It is time for all mandates to be lifted, including those affecting airline passengers.” 

Attorneys for the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) filed the lawsuit on behalf of Van Duyne, while Attorney General Ken Paxton is acting in the suit on behalf of the state of Texas.

As noted in the complaint, the mandate for individuals traveling by public transportation within the United States was issued by the CDC on January 29, 2021, the week after the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

The mandate applies broadly, with only a few exemptions such as for children under the age of two, for individuals with disabilities that prohibit them from wearing a mask safely, and while “eating, drinking, or taking medication, for brief periods.”

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An exemption also exists for “private conveyances operated solely for personal, non-commercial use.”

The lawsuit argues that the mandate from the CDC exceeds its regulatory authority and contends that the order “encroaches on the authority of the State within its jurisdiction, even as to purely intrastate travel.”

Matthew Miller, one of the attorneys with TPPF, said in a press release that the agency “is relying on specific and narrowly tailored provisions in the law to exercise enormously broad powers Congress has not granted the agency.”

“If someone were to be known to have COVID, the agency could then take steps to prevent that person from spreading the disease to others,” said Miller. “But the CDC has no authority to make rules that limit the freedom of tens of thousands of travelers without any evidence in the hopes it may have some preventative effect.”

The lawsuit asks the court to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions to prohibit the government from enforcing the mandate, and, more broadly, to declare that the CDC’s order “is in excess of statutory authority” and a violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers.

“President Biden cannot continue governing through executive edicts,” said Paxton in a press release. “Now is the time to strike down his administration’s air-travel mask mandate. I’m proud to stand alongside my friend Congresswoman Van Duyne and her counsel at TPPF to protect Texans’ liberty and the rule of law.”

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.