Connecticut Supreme Court takes up school masking orders
Did Gov. Ned Lamont go too far when he ordered kids to wear masks in schools during the pandemic? One group of parents thinks so. On Wednesday, they took their case to the state's highest court.
Masks are no longer required in school -- and the Connecticut Freedom Alliance wants to keep it that way. They’re asking the state Supreme Court to declare Lamont's previous mandate unconstitutional.
"Nobody consented to be governed this way. No one,” said attorney Norm Pattis, who’s representing the parents. “It's convenient for government, but it's catastrophic to the people."
Lamont first ordered school masks in 2020 and extended them through a series of executive orders. This year, state lawmakers passed the mask mandate as a law. Because the mandate was codified into law, a lower court tossed out the Connecticut Freedom Alliance's case.
The statewide school mask mandate ended in February. But in the future, the state argued the governor needs the flexibility to respond to a crisis.
"A decision could run the risk of potentially hamstringing the state's ability to flexibly respond to a future pandemic,” said Assistant Attorney General Timothy Holzman.
But how long is an emergency still an "emergency?"
"The whole point of the emergency civil preparedness doctrine is to respond to the meteor, to respond to the tsunami,” argued Pattis. “It's not to respond to something that's become a daily part of our lives."
But many of the justices seemed skeptical.
"What about the catastrophe that we were facing in 2020 with the bodies of dead persons piling up in hospitals because there was no place for them anymore?” asked Senior Justice Christine Keller.
The state Supreme Court did not issue a ruling on Wednesday.