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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming the government’s mandate requiring that masks be worn at U.S. airports and on airplanes and other transit modes is illegal.
Paxton, alongside the Texas Public Policy Foundation on behalf of U.S. Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne, filed the lawsuit challenging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention transit mask rules.
Paxton said the CDC did not put the mandate up for notice and comment, “which is ordinarily required for regulations like this” and that “a person’s failure to comply with the Administration’s mask mandate carries criminal penalties.”
“Biden’s repeated disregard of the individual liberties of Texans is not only disrespectful to the U.S. Constitution, it is also troublesome that any president thinks they can act above the law while hardworking Americans standby,” Paxton said in a statement.
“President Biden cannot continue governing through executive edicts. Now is the time to strike down his administration’s air-travel mask mandate. I’m proud to stand alongside my friend Congresswoman Van Duyne and her counsel at TPPF to protect Texans’ liberty and the rule of law,” Paxton said.
The current mask requirements are set to expire on March 18, though they previously have been extended several times.
The transit mask rules have been in place since February 2021, just a month after U.S. President Joe Biden took office, according to the suit.
Reuters reports the Federal Aviation Administration says of about 6,400 complaints of unruly passengers received since the start of 2021, about 4,500 involve passengers not wearing masks.
The suit names as defendants the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services, which is the CDC’s parent department, Walensky, CDC chief of staff Sherri Berger, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and the U.S. government as a whole.
Reuters reports that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday the agency is weighing new COVID-19 guidance, including on when to wear face masks — the agency expects many of the revised guidelines to be issued in late February or early March.
Reuters reports that the group representing major U.S. airlines declined to comment, and the White House and CDC did not immediately comment by the time the outlet published its story.
The lawsuit can be read in full here.