Supreme Court Justice John Roberts rejected a lawsuit that sought to block the federal government’s mask mandate on planes.
A Florida man, Michael Seklecki, made an emergency request on behalf of him and his 4-year-old autistic son, arguing they are not physically capable of wearing masks for extended periods of time, according to court papers.
Another plaintiff, Lucas Wall, joined their efforts. Wall said he is “stranded at his mother’s residence” in Florida because the mask mandate prevents him from flying on a plane, according to court documents.
The pair filed their lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which enforces the mask mandate.
The “TSA has produced no evidence showing that face masks are effective in reducing COVID-19, especially now that most Americans are fully vaccinated,” according to the complaint. “In fact, masking has been totally ineffective in reducing coronavirus infections and deaths,” it added, referring to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes COVID-19.
What’s more, they argued, it is “in the public interest to prevent discrimination against travelers with medical conditions who can’t wear [a] mask.”
Also according to the emergency request, the 4-year-old boy cannot “wear a mask and must fly regularly for specialized medical care out of state.” It also stated that the boy’s father “who also medically can’t tolerate wearing a face covering and must accompany [the child] on flights to Massachusetts and back for his son’s medical care.”
Wall, meanwhile, said that he has general anxiety disorder, which causes him to experience panic attacks when he wears a face covering.
“He has been stranded at his mother’s house in The Villages, Florida, since early June because TSA won’t let him fly maskless even though he can’t medically cover his face,” the lawsuit said.
Roberts, in his Thursday morning ruling, didn’t comment on the lawsuit or his order. He also did not request a response to the emergency relief application or refer it to the full Supreme Court.
The TSA order for masking on planes, trains, buses, and other public transportation is due to expire on March 18.
Studies on mask-wearing have shown they produce mixed results. Several researchers last month, in an analysis published by the Cato Institute, found that studies that are often cited by federal officials were poorly designed and offered insufficient evidence to support masking. Meanwhile, a recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that mask-wearing cuts the number of new COVID-19 infections by about 53 percent.