Harvard Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday said President Donald Trump cannot compel enforcement of a national mask mandate at the state or local level unless Congress authorizes him to do so.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the weekend said a federal mask mandate is “long overdue,” and Goldman Sachs on Wednesday suggested a national mandate would prevent a 5% GDP loss resulting from coronavirus lockdown measures.
“I think the Supreme Court, no matter whether it’s a more conservative or liberal Supreme Court, would uphold the power of states or the federal of government and the District of Columbia, would require the wearing of masks in public places,” Dershowitz said during an appearance on Newsmax TV’s "The Chris Salcedo Show."
But “presidents don’t have the authority to impose or even have punishments or violations of the law,” he added.
“You need a bill in order to have punishment. You may be able to have an executive order that says, no one is allowed on federal property, no one is allowed in federal buildings without masks. It’s a complicated issue and it shouldn’t be approached in a simple-minded way.”
Trump has said he is “all for masks” but doesn’t think the U.S. needs a national mandate.
“I don’t know if you need mandatory,” Trump said when asked in a Fox Business Network interview if he would support a national mandate.
“You have many places in the country where people stay very long distance,” Trump said.
“But I’m all for masks, I think masks are good,” the president said, adding that he has been seen wearing one in situations where he was in a group of people.
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