Federal judge rejects challenge to school mask mandate
A federal judge in Las Vegas on Wednesday dismissed a challenge to the mask requirement for students in the Clark County School District, dismissing claims by parents of two students that the pandemic warrant and its enactment violated their rights constitutional.
U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey’s ruling bluntly denies the complainant’s various claims, citing precedents from decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and other jurisdictions both contemporary with the current COVID-19 pandemic and dating back to a Massachusetts affair in 1905.
She rejected the parents’ request for a preliminary injunction, finding that they had shown no legal basis for their constitutional claims, and further refused to exercise jurisdiction over their claims under the law of the State.
Finding that the complaint “has no viable legal theory to support a plausible federal claim for relief, this case should be dismissed,” Dorsey wrote.
Allegation of constitutional violations
The plaintiffs, in a lawsuit filed in August, have targeted the school district, Gov. Steve Sisolak and Attorney General Aaron Ford over the district’s student mask policy, enacted in July, and two the governor’s emergency pandemic guidelines requiring the use of masks indoors, including in schools.
Citing the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, the complainants argued that forcing their children to wear masks at school violates their rights as parents, including the right to make medical choices for their children, and said that they were unconstitutionally excluded from the “medical decision-making process” behind the mask policies.
“But these perceived wrongs do not violate any constitutional rights,” Dorsey wrote, noting that the Constitution “does not require the ability to participate in the decision-making process for policies so broadly applicable.” Parents’ rights, she said, “do not include the prerogative to dictate school health and safety policies.”
Its 22-page decision also rejects the plaintiffs ‘claim that there is no scientific evidence to support the mask warrants, noting that the plaintiffs’ attorney in court “denied the existence of a pandemic, although the World Health Organization, the White House and the United States Supreme Courts have always recognized it.
Allegations “not supported by case law”
The district’s mask policy allowed parents to enroll their children in online distance learning programs as an alternative to in-person instruction and also provided accommodation for students who could not wear a mask in full. security.
But despite these “reasonable alternatives”, plaintiffs’ attorneys confirmed in court “that they chose to send their children to schools subject to the policy and did not seek any accommodation,” Dorsey wrote. “And lawyers have largely conceded that the federal claims of the plaintiffs are not supported by any case law.”
Co-counsel for the plaintiffs were Reno’s attorney, Joey Gilbert, Republican nomination contestant for governor, and Sigal Chattah, Republican candidate for attorney general.
Gilbert on Wednesday evening did not respond to a phone call asking for comment. Chattah wrote in a Tweeter that the matter was under appeal.
Dorsey compared the state’s mask mandate to state laws on seat belt and helmet use, no smoking, and shirt and footwear requirements in public places. She found similarities and precedents in the Massachusetts case of 1905, where the Supreme Court upheld the state’s smallpox vaccine mandate, and in the challenges of the COVID-era mask mandate arising in California and elsewhere that the courts have also rejected.
Earlier decisions “force the conclusion that the right to parenthood does not empower parents to undermine local public health efforts during a global pandemic by refusing their children to comply with a school mask requirement. especially when they affirmatively chose this option over the maskless distance learning alternative that (Clark County Schools) has also made available, ”Dorsey wrote.
Ford welcomed the decision, saying in a statement that his office “will continue to be the first line of defense between our health experts and those who wish to peddle debunked and fear-mongering arguments in court.”
Branch-Noto et al vs. Sisolak et al by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd