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Texas sues Biden administration to overturn federal mask mandate for public transport

Feb 16, 2022, 3:27 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:18 pm
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 18: People walk through Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix whe...
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 18: People walk through Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix where new COVID-19 cases are down but health experts warn cases may rise with the introduction of the omicron strain on December 18, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, since mid-December 2020 over 14,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Arizona. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has signed an executive order banning local governments from imposing the vaccine requirements. Arizona does not yet have a mask mandate and mask use is sporadic. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The state of Texas filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to overturn President Joe Biden’s mask mandate for public transport, marking the latest longshot bid to scrap one of the President’s key Covid-19 health measures.

“Biden’s repeated disregard of the individual liberties of Texans is not only disrespectful to the US Constitution, it is also troublesome that any president thinks they can act above the law while hardworking Americans standby,” Texas Attorney General Ken 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.”

Paxton, along with the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, filed the lawsuit in federal court on behalf of US Rep. Beth Van Duyne, a Republican whose district includes the suburbs near Fort Worth and Dallas. They allege in the lawsuit that the order, first issued by Biden shortly after he took office last year, violates US law regarding how federal rules are issued and is also unconstitutional because, they say, it represents an instance in which the Executive Branch carried out the law-making function of the Legislative Branch.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction and permanent injunction against Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the two agencies named as defendants in the suit.

CNN has reached out to HHS for comment. The CDC declined CNN’s request for comment.

The lawsuit is the latest attempt to throw out Biden’s order, which requires travelers to wear masks on airplanes, buses, trains and boats, as well as in airports and other transportation hubs.

In July, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the high court’s conservative members, rejected an emergency request to block the mask requirement that was brought by a man seeking to leave Florida by airplane who said his Generalized Anxiety Disorder prevented him from wearing one.

The man, Lucas Wall, also alleged the policy was unconstitutional and that it violated various regulatory authorities.

In December, as the Omicron coronavirus variant sparked fresh concern among health experts, the Biden administration extended the mandate through March 2022.

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Texas sues Biden administration to overturn federal mask mandate for public transport