Supreme Court Rejects Attempt to Block Mask Mandate on Airplanes

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
January 18, 2022 Updated: January 19, 2022

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a renewed bid to block the Biden administration’s requirement to wear masks on airplanes.

The application to stay the mask mandate was denied by the court after a referral by Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump nominee.

Michael Seklecki and his son, an autistic 4-year-old, have been seeking to get courts to block the mask mandate, which was imposed in January 2021 by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) head David Pekoske under the direction of President Joe Biden.

Seklecki of Florida, along with Lucas Wall of Washington, said they and the boy are medically unable to wear masks.

“Being denied the right to fly because we can’t wear masks jeopardizes my son’s life as it’s not practical for us to make the lengthy drive to and from Boston every time he has a medical appointment. Should TSA be allowed to continue to mandate masks, my son could miss critical medical care, which could be fatal. My family and I would suffer enormous irreparable harm,” Seklecki said in a sworn declaration.

Wall has said he suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, and that when he wore masks he had to remove them after about five minutes because he started hyperventilating.

The pair submitted the amended application for a stay to Gorsuch several weeks after Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush nominee, rejected an earlier application.

Neither rejection was explained by the nation’s top court, which last week blocked a COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed by the Biden administration against businesses with 100 or more workers that included requirements for unvaccinated workers to wear masks and get tested weekly, ruling the mandate exceeded the authority conferred by Congress upon the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“Given that the Supreme Court just last week blocked OSHA’s mandate that all companies with 100-plus workers must ensure their employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 or endure forced masking in the workplace, it’s bewildering why the justices have declined to take similar action to stop a transportation security agency from overstepping its legal authority by regulating health matters,” Wall told The Epoch Times in an email.

“It’s terribly frustrating the justices have refused to block TSA’s illegal mask mandate given the negative impact it has on millions of Americans with medical conditions who can’t wear face masks including the 4-year-old autistic boy who is my co-petitioner. The court’s decision today does not align with its holding last week that federal agencies may not order pandemic mandates that Congress has not authorized,” he added.

The TSA recently extended the mandate, which also applies to some buses and railroads, through March 18, 2022.

The administration said when first announcing the requirements that they would “help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response.”

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

The Supreme Court, in the order list (pdf) released Tuesday that included its rejection of the application, did not grant any requests for review, but justices did ask for the view of Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar regarding claims that a hospice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania paid doctors to refer patients to the facility.

The court also rejected writs of certiorari in dozens of cases, including a case against American Airlines, a suit against Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, and a case against Google.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.