Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Biden administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an attempt to upend the national face mask mandate for public transportation including on airplanes and in airports.
The Lone Star State filed the lawsuit on behalf of Republican Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne who doesn’t have a medical exemption from wearing a face mask but who would simply choose not to wear a face mask if she had the choice.
AG Paxton is expected to argue that the federal mandate should be overturned because it was not authorized by Congress and is therefore illegal. A succession of federal courts have thrown out similar lawsuits in the more than 12-months since the mandate was issued by the CDC.
“Biden’s repeated disregard of the individual liberties of Texans is not only disrespectful to the U.S. Constitution, it is also troublesome that any president thinks they can act above the law while hardworking Americans standby,” Paxton slammed on Wednesday.
“President Biden cannot continue governing through executive edicts. Now is the time to strike down his administration’s air-travel mask mandate,” he continued.
The mandate was first issued on January 29, 2021, and has been extended several times. It is currently set to expire on March 18, 2022, but could be extended yet again.
The Biden administration and the CDC are under increasing pressure, however, to lift the mandate at the earliest opportunity as a growing number of state’s lift pandemic restrictions, including local mask mandates.
Internationally, Europe is quickly rolling back strict health rules with several countries including England, Denmark and Sweden doing away with all masking requirements.
At home, the federal government has made millions of high-quality N95 masks available for free, and there are growing calls to embrace the concept of ‘one-way masking’ in which masking would be left to personal choice.
Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne claims to fly around 80 times per year and wants masking to be a personal choice. Although the federal mask mandate has specific exemptions for people with disabilities, she freely admits that these exemptions don’t apply to her – she’d just rather not wear a face mask.
“Van Duyne alleges that both on its face and as applied, the Mask Mandate
violates her constitutional rights and her right to be free from unlawful regulations,” the lawsuit alleges.
The case is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Fort Worth. Case number: 4:22-cv-00122-O
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.