Attorney General Knudsen joins lawsuit to end CDC mask mandate
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen today joined 20 other state attorneys general in a lawsuit to end President Biden’s continued mask mandate for airplanes and other forms of mass transportation. The mandate exceeds Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) authority and intrudes on Montanans’ rights.
The Biden administration first issued the mask mandate on January 29, 2021 and has continuously extended it since then. It requires mask wearing in “public transportation conveyances” such as airplanes, trains, buses, taxis, and ride-shares.
“The indoor mask mandates have been dropped in every single state, but the Biden administration keeps clinging to its forced masking policy. It’s far past time for this overbearing mandate to go,” Attorney General Knudsen said.
The lawsuit from Knudsen and other attorneys general seeks the eradication of the unlawful mask mandate and a permanent injunction against enforcement.
The CDC’s unlawful mask mandate exceeds the agency’s authority in several ways: the statute used to justify the mandate does not authorize economy-wide measures and the statute only authorizes rules directly related to preventing the interstate spread of disease—it does not permit mask requirements for individuals who show no sign of infection.
Additionally, the rule is arbitrary and capricious. The required notice and comment period was not given before the mandate implemented and the CDC 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, which prohibits the federal government from imposing coercive duties on state governments.
Attorney General Knudsen joins the attorneys general from the following states in filing the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida: Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
To read the full complaint, click here.