By FRC Staff
When free people don’t defend their rights, they lose them. That’s why this week FRC Action has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s “arbitrary and capricious” airplane mask mandate. Family Research Council’s legislative affiliate filed the suit on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on behalf of two FRC Action members, and on behalf of Tony Perkins and his minor child.
As the pandemic emergency waned, so did state and local emergency pandemic measures, leaving the federal airline mask mandate to stick out like a sore thumb. In most of the country, you’d think travelers were only vulnerable to COVID-19 in airports and airplanes. The federal mandate should have ended too, but it didn’t. Instead of expiring on March 22, it was extended “at least until April 18.” There’s no guarantee it will end even then.
So we decided to do what we can, with what we have, to preserve what we’ve been entrusted with — just like the truckers in the People’s Convoy, who are still motoring around D.C. until the restrictions are ended.
After reviewing other like-minded lawsuits, we chose to advance a unique argument. Namely, that the Biden administration has ignored the science, making the mandate “arbitrary and capricious,” a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. As the lawsuit argues, this isn’t a tough standard for an agency to meet, as they generally provide “reasoned decision-making based on substantial evidence.” The airline mask mandate is simply not supported by science, even by the government’s own studies.
For starters, airplanes are one of the safest places in terms of COVID-19 transmission, “safer than bars, theaters, gyms, and restaurants,” concluded a survey of epidemiologists. Cabin air is completely recycled every two minutes through high-grade filters that capture more than 99 percent of airborne particles. The federal mandate targeting airplanes seems to have less to do with risk assessment than with compliance assessment. Additionally, explains the lawsuit, “studies show that masks are actually ineffective, particularly the cloth masks and surgical masks commonly worn.” Yet these ineffective face coverings meet the standards of the mandate. On the other hand, these masks can be harmful, particularly for children, who aren’t even at risk from COVID. “Forcing children to wear masks comes with a variety of health risks: skin issues, carbon dioxide in the blood, anxiety and depression,” the lawsuit summarizes.
This administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been “arbitrary” (based on personal whim instead of a reason or system) and “capricious” (given to unaccountable changes of behavior) from the beginning. They have consistently refused to provide clear scientific rationales for their mandates or explain the end conditions under which Americans could move on with their lives. While some government officials imposed mandates to make people feel safe, others simply wanted to control others. Now that the pandemic is effectively over (even the airlines are pleading to end the mask mandate), it’s clear who the holdouts are.
Wherever the mandates end in this pandemic is where they will start in the next major crisis. Our goal is to ensure the mask mandate cannot be reinstated in the future at a whim by any Leftist that wants to exercise control over the American people. This challenge, we believe, can lead to the striking down of the federal mask mandate as an unjustified overreach of the federal government.
We invite you to stand with us in our lawsuit, or at the very least, do what you can, with what you have, to preserve what you’ve been entrusted with, wherever you are, for the good of this free nation.