US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr denied a request Thursday to block the current federal mask mandate for US airports and domestic air travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael Seklecki filed the lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for himself and his son, who is autistic. Seklecki alleged that he “can’t tolerate wearing a face covering” due to his generalized anxiety disorder and that his son “can’t wear a mask and must fly regularly for specialized medical out of the state.”
The lawsuit requested a stay of the federal mask mandate and an immediate injunction. Lucas Wall also joined the petition likewise citing medical reasons for non-compliance with the mask mandate.
Justice Roberts denied the 89-page emergency petition for review without comment and without referring the application to the full court.
According to the New York Times, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) responded to the suit, arguing that Seklecki and Wall failed to “[pursue] an available procedure for obtaining medical exemptions” and that Congress enacted the mask mandate to protect travelers.
Following President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, the TSA implemented mask requirements for all individuals passing through “TSA airport screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation systems.” Airports, commercial aircraft, commuter buses and rail systems are included within the mask mandate. TSA recently extended its mask requirement through to March 18, 2022.
The lawsuit is not the first that Wall has been involved in. In September, he filed a similar suit challenging the legality of mask mandates in the name of “hundreds of other Americans who have been banned from flying because of their medical conditions.”