‘Null, Void, and Unenforceable’: NY Judge Strikes Down Governor’s Mask Mandate
How about we just put masks on the politicians?
A New York Supreme Court judge on Monday evening ruled that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mask mandate for schools and public places is unconstitutional, declaring it “null, void, and unenforceable.”
In mid-December, the Democrat governor enacted the mandate in the midst of rising COVID-19 cases, in part, fueled by the Omicron variant.
New York Supreme Court Judge Thomas Rademaker wrote in his order (pdf) that Hochul doesn’t have the authority to impose such a mandate because the state Legislature would have to approve laws requiring masks in schools and in other public areas.
“Neither the governor nor the state health commissioner had the authority to enact the mandate without the state legislature because Governor Hochul no longer has emergency powers,” Rademaker wrote in his order.
According to the ruling, “There can be no question that every person in this state wishes, wants, and prays that this era of COVID ends soon and they will surely do their part to see that is accomplished.”
But it stipulated that “enacting any laws to this end is entrusted solely to the State Legislature. While the intentions of Commissioner Bassett and Governor Hochul appear to be well aimed squarely at doing what they believe is right to protect the citizens of New York State, they must take their case to the State Legislature.”
Following the ruling, Hochul issued a statement on Monday night saying that her “responsibility as Governor is to protect New Yorkers throughout this public health crisis, and these measures help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” even though her state saw a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in late December and early January after the mandate was handed down.
“We strongly disagree with this ruling, and we are pursuing every option to reverse this immediately,” she wrote.
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