The Texas Public Policy Foundation and Texas Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne—joined by the State of Texas—sued the Centers for Disease Control to end the enforcement of mask mandates for public transportation and transportation hubs. TPPF’s lawsuit seeks to end the federal government’s requirement to wear masks on planes and at airports. The complaint argues that Congress has never given the CDC authority “to make or enforce regulations that amount to a blanket preventative measure against people that may or may not carry infectious disease.” The CDC exercising such authority violates the separation of powers and constitutes an abuse of power.

“The CDC is relying on specific and narrowly tailored provisions in the law to exercise enormously broad powers Congress has not granted the agency,” said Matt Miller, Senior Attorney with TPPF. “If someone were to be known to have COVID-19, the agency could then take steps to prevent that person from spreading the disease to others. But the CDC has no authority to make rules that limit the freedom of millions of travelers without any evidence in the hopes it may have some preventative effect.”

“With their constantly changing science, fluctuating recommendations and oppressive need to control all aspects of society, the CDC has caused our country untold damage,” said Van Duyne.  “It is time for all mandates to be lifted, including those affecting airline passengers.”

In addition to a lack of authority to mandate a “blanket preventative measure,” the complaint argues:

  • The statutes the CDC is using “require the CDC to act only once it ‘determines that the measures taken by health authorities of any State . . . are insufficient to prevent the spread of any of the communicable diseases from such State . . . to any other State.’ The CDC made no sufficient findings on this point.”
  • The statues also require, “’For purposes of carrying out and enforcing such regulations, the [CDC] may provide for such inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, destruction of animals or articles found to be so infected or contaminated as to be sources of dangerous infection to human beings, and other measures, as in his judgment may be necessary.’ That is, the catchall phrase ‘other measures’ is limited to ‘the kinds of measures like the ones listed in the statute.’ A mask mandate for all people of unknown infection status is not like the’ measures listed in the statute.”

“The tyranny by the Biden Administration in the name of COVID-19 needs to end,” said TPPF General Counsel Robert Henneke. “If the Biden Administration won’t respect the limits of its lawful authority, then TPPF will hold the federal government accountable at the courthouse.”

“The good news is the courts have seen this kind of thing from the CDC in at least two previous cases and ruled it overstepped its authority,” said Nate Curtisi, Attorney with TPPF. “Perhaps a third strike will send the message that the American people will not accept agencies ignoring their limits, abusing their power, and making an end run around Congress.”

The State of Texas, Van Duyne’s co-plaintiff, is represented by the Office of the Texas Attorney General.

Read the full complaint here.