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AG Derek Schmidt asks appeals court to continue blocking federal airline mask mandate

Release Date: Aug 09, 2022

TOPEKA – (August 9, 2022) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt late yesterday asked a federal appeals court to affirm a lower-court ruling from earlier this year that blocked the Biden administration from requiring masks on public transit, including commercial airlines.

In a brief filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, Schmidt, along with 21 other state attorneys general and the solicitor general of Iowa, argued that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked authority to impose the mask mandate. In addition, the states argue the mandate is invalid because it failed to go through notice and comment procedures, is arbitrary and capricious and violated the agency’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].”

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. A copy is available at https://bit.ly/3BTRKuZ.

Schmidt had previously filed a separate lawsuit against the Biden administration seeking to end the public transit mask mandate. That case is stayed pending the decision in the Health Freedom Defense Fund v. Biden case in the 11th Circuit. Schmidt has challenged numerous federal mandates since last fall when the Biden administration announced several vaccine and mask mandates as part of its one-size-fits-all approach to combating COVID-19. He has obtained federal court injunctions blocking the OSHA vaccine mandate for private employers, the federal contractor vaccine mandate and the Head Start vaccine and mask mandate. 

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