JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that his office joined 22 other states in filing an amicus brief in Health Freedom Defense Fund Inc. vs. Joseph R. Biden, opposing President Biden and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) interstate travel mask mandate. The attorneys general argue that the district court correctly vacated the federal mask mandate, which exceeds the CDC’s authority and infringes on each state’s ability to enact its own public health rules.
“The district court correctly ruled that the Biden Administration and the CDC have no authority to force people to wear masks on flights or on buses,” said Attorney General Schmitt
. “It’s far past time that we allow Americans to make their own decisions related to their health and well-being without the federal government overstepping its authority and attempting to force masking on everyday people. I’ve fought these public health bureaucrats and petty tyrants at every turn, and will continue to push back on this unprecedented government overreach.”
In a brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the attorneys general argue that the CDC’s unlawful mandate exceeds the agency’s authority in several ways. First, the CDC grounds its authority to issue a mask mandate in its power to require “sanitation” measures under 42 U.S.C. § 264(a). That authority cannot support the mandate. Additionally, according to the statute, CDC cannot demand that domestic travelers be examined without evidence that they are carrying disease—but that is what the mandate requires, a visual inspection of every traveler without any individualized suspicion.
The brief also argues that the mandate is invalid because it failed to go through notice and comment procedures. The CDC’s rule is arbitrary and capricious, with numerous exceptions that the agency did not explain or justify. Beyond that, the rule violates the CDC’s own regulations. The brief states: “CDC regulations say that it cannot act unless it finds local measures inadequate. But here, CDC never even studied local measures, much less developed a method to determine whether those measures are adequate.”
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has been a leader in battling forced masking, at both the national and local level. His office was a member of the original lawsuit against the CDC’s mask mandate on public transportation. Attorney General Schmitt filed suit against a number of Missouri school districts for continuing to force the masking of schoolchildren. Nearly all districts dropped their mask mandates following the lawsuits. Attorney General Schmitt was also the first to file suit against OSHA’s private employer vaccine mandate and delivered a historic win defeating that mandate at the United States Supreme Court.
In addition to Missouri, the attorneys general of the following states joined the brief: Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
The full brief can be read here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/mask-mandate-amicus---stamped.pdf?sfvrsn=11a0cd19_2