Attorney General Alan Wilson joins multistate action to end CDC’s unlawful mask mandate

March 29, 2022

Attorney General Alan Wilson is joining 20 other states in a multistate action against President Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continued use of the unlawful mask mandate on public transportation. Attorney General Wilson argues that the mandate exceeds the authority of Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Biden administration continues to use a failed interpretation of a quarantine statute—that has been ruled against in court several times—to authorize the CDC’s rule. The continuation of the CDC’s unlawful mask mandate harms the states. The mandate also runs against reason as now even the states with the most stringent COVID-19 policies are beginning to lift indoor mask mandates.

“People need to get from place to place without having their liberty infringed upon,” Attorney General Wilson said. “The chief executives of the major airlines are calling on President Biden to allow the mask mandate at airports and on planes to expire next month and they know what’s best for their passengers and employees. Even the president himself said in his State of the Union address a few weeks ago that, ‘Covid-19 need no longer control our lives.’”

In a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, the attorneys general argue that the CDC’s unlawful mask mandate exceeds the agency’s authority in several ways. First, the statute used to justify the mandate does not authorize economy-wide measures. Second, 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 complaint highlights that the CDC rule is arbitrary and capricious, required notice and comment that was not given before being implemented and 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.

The complaint seeks the eradication of the unlawful mask mandate and a permanent injunction against enforcement.

Attorney General Wilson joins the attorneys general from the following states in signing onto the complaint: Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Florida Attorney General Moody filed the action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

To read the full complaint, click here.