Justice Clarence Thomas denied a request for an injunction against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's mandate requiring masks on public transportation, the Washington Examiner reported.
Thomas on Tuesday night handed down an order denying an appeal that had been made to the Supreme Court last week challenging the CDC’s mandate, which has been extended through Sept. 13.
Although it didn’t mention the case, Thomas' decision came a week after Lucas Wall, a frequent flyer from Washington, D.C., asked the court to halt the mandate in a complaint leveled against the CDC, President Joe Biden, and a slew of other federal agencies, the Examiner reported.
Wall told the Examiner the appeal had been a "long shot," especially since he awaits a trial before a district court in Orlando, Florida.
"Of course it's still disappointing Justice Thomas did not take a more in-depth look at the illegal and unconstitutional mask requirement," Wall said, according to the Examiner.
Wall was removed from Orlando International Airport in early June for not wearing a mask.
He filed a lawsuit — which also names seven airlines as defendants — claiming that a generalized anxiety disorder made it impossible for him to follow the "improper, illegal, and unconstitutional" mandate.
At the time of the incident involving Wall, most states had removed mask mandates.
Wall appealed to the Supreme Court after a narrow decision in favor of the CDC's eviction moratorium, which is set to expire at the end of July.
The plaintiff said that the decision signaled the justices might be open to striking down pandemic-era orders.
Business Insider reported that Wall, in a 99-page Supreme Court application, asked "for relief no later than Friday, July 16, because I have a flight booked to Germany on Saturday, July 17, to visit my brother and his wife."
Despite Thomas' order, Wall said he still thinks he’ll prevail against the CDC eventually.
"For now," Wall told the Examiner, "the federal government has prevailed in muzzling all travelers and banning tens of millions of Americans including myself who can't tolerate having their face covered from using any form of public transportation."
Legal scholars told the Insider that with his emergency application to the Supreme Court, Wall was attempting to avoid the formal process.
"Such applications are both rare and rarely accepted, likely only in a case where irreparable harm could occur through not acting immediately," Elliot E. Slotnick, professor emeritus at The Ohio State University, told the Insider.
On Friday, the CDC relaxed COVID-19 guidelines and said vaccinated teachers and students don't need to wear masks inside school buildings.
"We're at a new point in the pandemic that we're all really excited about," and so it's time to update the guidance, said Erin Sauber-Schatz, who leads the CDC task force that prepares the guidelines.
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