New York mask warrant ruled unconstitutional by state judge

New York’s mask mandate for schools and other public places was overturned by a Long Island judge who said it was an illegal end around the constitution.

The mask-wearing rule was issued Dec. 10 by the state’s health commissioner, at the request of the governor Kathy Hochul, at the start of the omicron outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. A group of Nassau County parents filed a lawsuit to block the mandate, saying their school-aged children shouldn’t be required to wear masks.

Justice of the Supreme Court of Nassau Thomas Rademaker decided on Monday that the Health Commissioner Mary Bassette had no legal authority when it issued the regulations, given the state legislature’s recent decision to limit the power of the executive.

Read more: NY feels Covid’s grip tightening again as hospital cases rise 70%

“My responsibility as governor is to protect New Yorkers throughout this public health crisis, and these measures are helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and save lives,” Hochul said in a statement. “We strongly disagree with this decision and are pursuing all options to reverse this immediately.”

Rademaker said the mask mandate should be considered law, not just regulation, under state law and that only the legislature has the power to pass laws.

“Although the intentions of Commissioner Bassett and Governor Hochul do appear to be to do what they believe is right to protect the citizens of New York, they must take their case to the state legislature,” Rademaker wrote.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Robert Burnson in San Francisco at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Katia Porzecanski to [email protected]

Peter Blumberg Joe Schneider

© 2022 Bloomberg LP All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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