NEWS & ANALYSIS

Judge Strikes Down New York Mask Mandate


A state judge on Monday struck down New York’s mask mandate, ruling Gov. Kathy Hochul does not have the authority to enact such a mandate without approval from the Legislature.

In his decision, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Thomas Rademaker argued the rule amounted to “a law that was promulgated and enacted unlawfully by an executive branch state agency, and therefore void and unenforceable,” Just the News reports.

Indeed, regardless of the “well aimed” intentions of state officials, such authority is “entrusted solely to the State Legislature,” he wrote. 

Rademaker ruled that the mandate announced in December “must fail as violative of the State Administrative Procedure Act.”

The state attorney general’s office plans to appeal the ruling. Emily DeSantis, a spokeswoman for the state Education Department, said the state Health Department would appeal, which would automatically restore the mask rule until an appellate court issues a ruling.

In a statement following the ruling, Hochul said that her office strongly disagreed and would be “pursuing every option to reverse this immediately.”

“My 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,” she said, per the New York Times. 

While the ruling overturns the statewide mandate for masks in schools and public places, it does not reverse local mandates.

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