A lawsuit has been filed to overturn a federal transportation mask mandate that took effect this year. The Obama Administration’s new law requires airline passengers to cover their faces with hats and masks in order to keep pests from bothering airplane passengers.
A federal judge has struck down a rule that requires everyone entering a commercial airplane to cover their face when taking their seat, ruling that it infringes on the freedom to travel. The Department of Transportation said the rule, implemented in 2011, was designed to protect passengers from exposure to airborne infectious diseases. The ruling, however, may affect anyone who travels by air.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has become adept at using the regulatory power it wields to dictate what can and cannot be done on highways in the country. The agency has used the power to ban a broad array of products, including scented candles, incense, and even water bottles, in an effort to protect drivers from having to inhale pollutants. But when it comes to the federal law that requires drivers to wear a face mask, the DOT has chosen to defend the law as being an important safety measure.. Read more about federal mask mandate airport and let us know what you think. The passenger filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Middle District of Florida to overturn the federal masking mandate and the CDC’s requirement that entry by air require a negative test for Covid-19. (Here is a copy of the complaint in .pdf format). The questions are interesting, but Lucas Wall, who is a former traffic reporter and editor with more than 1.5 million miles on the road, acts like his own lawyer and makes a series of claims that seem far less convincing than his best arguments. I’m not sure he’s the best person to lead a lawsuit, although I think a well-funded and well-represented person in his position could get pretty good results.
Refusal to enter without a mask despite medical reason not to wear a mask
Mr. Wall says he suffers from generalized anxiety disorder and reports hyperventilating and having panic attacks when wearing a mask. He filed a request with Southwest Airlines for a waiver of the requirement to wear a mask (a procedure mandated by federal mask laws, but not available when the airlines themselves mandate the mask) and was denied permission to travel from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale in June. I am not aware of Mr. Wall’s specific medical condition and therefore express no opinion on the validity of his motion to dismiss. However, if the mask had not been required, he could have passed the TSA checkpoint and flown away. He probably wouldn’t have been allowed to fly with Southwest (which didn’t honor medical exemptions even before the federal mandate), but we don’t know which airlines would have revoked their mandates now if they were allowed to (despite their current lobbying for the mandate), and airline policies on masks varied before the mandate, for example. B. after consultation with a designated health care professional, authorized the Delta exceptions and authorized the exceptions for young children.
Attempt to eliminate mandatory screening for air travel in the United States
Wall also wants an injunction against the requirement to test Covid-19 on air travel in the United States. He has a flight back to the U.S. in late June (he hasn’t left the country yet). If they cannot take the outbound flight because they have to wear a mask, they should not be checked on the return flight. I would love to hear from informed readers on this topic.
Good – and not so good – arguments against the Musk mandate
Wall is suing for 21 violations of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory provisions, and not only is he suing the CDC, he is also arguing that the Aviation Authority, which operates the Orlando airport, should not be able to enforce the mask requirement because of Florida’s prohibition on government agencies mandating masks (although federal law seems to be in favor here, and Tenth Amendment Court jurisprudence is unlikely here). There are indeed strong arguments against the federal mask mandate. It was clear that the TSA itself could not enforce the use of masks during air travel. That’s why the CDC made the mask mandatory under the Biden administration, which was later implemented by the TSA. The legality of the mask rule is based on the authority of 42 USC 264(a) to promulgate and enforce such rules….. necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign states to states or possessions, or from one state or possession to another. The legislation authorizing the CDC provides examples of what may be required. The powers are not unlimited: inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, destruction of vermin, destruction of animals or objects so contaminated or polluted that they constitute a dangerous source of contamination for humans, and any other measure he deems necessary. A strong legal argument here is that Congress, by providing examples of what the CDC can do, has limited the CDC’s authority, and that the other actions must be similar to those listed in the statute. And that’s actually a double setback, because if the Court decides that it isn’t, Congress’s delegation of authority would be too broad (which violates the non-delegation doctrine) : Congress cannot allow an agency to promulgate its own authority). The argument against the CDC’s authority essentially boils down to either the CDC’s authority is limited and it has not been granted the authority to require masks for air travel, or its authority is not limited and the grant of authority is unconstitutional. In any event, the law does not support the CDC’s action, and this is pretty much the argument that was made when the appeal against the CDC’s deportation moratorium (sometimes) prevailed. Judges *could* devise a principle to distinguish masking (a kind of immediacy test for the proximate cause of the spread of a disease), but under the *factual* reasoning of these recent decisions, I don’t see how a masking order can be acceptable while a deportation order is not. – Lindsay Wiley (@ProfLWiley) March 17, 2021 The Court stated that when Congress authorized other actions deemed necessary, they involved other things such as inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest control, destruction of [infected/contaminated] animals or property. – Lindsay Wiley (@ProfLWiley) March 17, 2021 In the early stages of a pandemic, a court could uphold the mask requirement if such a case is challenged on the grounds that the mask requirement for transportation is closely related to preventing the spread of infectious diseases from one state or possession to another. However, the CDC itself claims that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks, based on their own research showing that they are not infected and are not spreading the virus (and while protection against asymptomatic transmission is not perfect, it appears that vaccinated and asymptomatically infected people are also much less likely to spread the virus).
We may soon see the end of themask rule
I suspect that, at least as far as the masks are concerned, the case will have been settled long before the verdict is handed down. The mask rule is in effect until the 13th. The month of September has been extended, although no longer needed.
- Infection rates in the United States are quite low and continue to decline. The president could declare victory on July 4 and bring an early end to Musk’s tenure.
- Summer is likely to be characterized by a low prevalence of Covid-19, so the rationale for extending the mask requirement beyond the 13th day is likely to be strong. September will be weak (although the virus will return later and the mask basket problems will reoccur).
- There is virtually no world in which the Democrats will go into the midterm elections without declaring victory and thus losing the mandate.
Only in this third scenario is it likely that decisions on this issue will be made before the case is closed, at least as far as the masks are concerned.
Lake View from the Wing
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has sent a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) over the federal minimum safety standards for airline pilots’ face and neck coverings. The suit was filed in response to the DOT’s decision to remove the NTSB’s authority to mandate pilot face and neck coverings.. Read more about virginia mask mandate and let us know what you think.
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