SC attorney general joins legal action to stop mask mandate on public transportation
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson joined 20 other states to fight against what he calls an unlawful mask mandate on public transportation.
The legal action targets the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate which Wilson argues “exceeds the authority of the CDC. Wilson says President Joe Biden’s administration is using a “failed interpretation of a quarantine statute - that has been ruled against in court several times - to authorize the CDC’s rule.”
“People need to get from place to place without having their liberty infringed upon,” Wilson said. “The chief executives of the major airlines are calling on President Biden to allow the mask mandate at airports and on planes to expire next month and they know what’s best for their passengers and employees. Even the president himself said in his State of the Union address a few weeks ago that, ‘Covid-19 need no longer control our lives.’”
Attorneys general from 20 states argue in a complaint requesting declaratory and injunctive relief that the statute used to justify the mandate does not authorize “economy-wide measures” and only allows rules directly related to “preventing the interstate spread of the disease - it does not permit mask requirements for individuals who show no sign of infection.”
The complaint also claims the CDC rule is “arbitrary and capricious, required notice and comment that was not given before being implemented and did not consider actions that states had already taken to control the spread of COVID-19.”
“The mandate also requires state-run conveyances and transportation hubs to affirmatively enforce the rule, in violation of the anti-commandeering doctrine,” a release from Wilson’s office states.
Last week, a group representing major North American airlines sent a letter to Biden demanding his administration end a federal mask mandate and a requirement that international travelers be tested before boarding a flight. In that letter, Airlines for America’s President and CEO, Nicholas Calio, said those measures “no longer make sense in the current public health context.” The letter was co-signed by leaders of Alaska Air Group, American Airlines, Atlas Air Worldwide, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines Holdings and UPS Airlines.
Wilson joins attorneys general from the states of Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed the action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
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