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21-State Coalition Sues CDC over Public Transportation Mask Mandate

  • In a complaint filed March 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Florida, AGs from 21 states are seeking a declaration that the Centers for Disease Control’s COVID-19 mask mandate for public transportation is unlawful. Defendants include the CDC, HHS, TSA, Homeland Security, and officials of those agencies in their official capacities.
  • According to the complaint, the CDC’s authority relating to the COVID-19 pandemic is statutorily limited by to actions “to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases . . . from one State or possession into any other State or possession,” which the CDC exceeded by imposing economy-wide masking requirements relating to public transportation, rather than discrete actions, such as detaining a ship or banning a particular item. The plaintiff states claimed that they were harmed by the CDC’s mandate through fines for noncompliance and harm to the states’ sovereign and quasi-sovereign interests.
  • The Complaint seeks a declaration that the mandate is unlawful, an injunction preventing the CDC’s enforcement of the mask mandate, and an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.