Attorney General Steve Marshall on Tuesday announced that he had filed an amicus brief on behalf of the State of Alabama against President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 mask mandate for public transportation.
The amicus brief, which joined by 22 additional states, supports a lawsuit challenging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) mask mandate that was issued in January 2019. The mandate was halted by a federal court in April of this year.
In a statement announcing the brief’s filing, Marshall advised that the attorneys general acted to ensure that the “unlawful” mandate was not reinstated.
“President Biden, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has tried to force Americans to abide by his unlawful public-transportation mask mandate that not only oversteps his regulatory authority but is also not based upon sound science,” said Marshall in a release. “Fortunately, President Biden’s illegal mask mandate was blocked by a federal court in April, and I am pleased to join 22 other attorneys general in filing this brief to ensure that it is not reinstated on appeal.”
In their brief, the attorneys general argue that the CDC lacked proper legal authority to issue such a decree. They contend that the agency’s assertion that the mandate was lawful due to its power to require “sanitation” measures exceeded its authority.
The brief’s filers also argue that the CDC cannot demand that domestic travelers be examined without evidence that they are carrying disease. The mandate requires a visual inspection of every traveler without any individualized suspicion, according to the attorney general’s office.
Alongside decrying the agency’s failure to follow its notice-and-comment procedures, the brief outlines that the CDC did not take into account measures that had been implemented at the local level.
The agency, argue the attorneys general, cannot implement the mandate unless it finds local measures to be inadequate. According to Marshall, the CDC did not study measures put in place by local municipalities.
Marshall was joined by attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia in filing the amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL