The Pennsylvania statewide school mask mandate was struck down by the state’s Supreme Court on Friday, despite support for the measure by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Acting State Health Secretary Alison Beam Friday.
According to Fox News, the court declared that Beam, who was taking the place of former Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and current Biden Administration health official Rachel Levine, didn’t have the power to make the mandate.
Harrisburg’s PennLIVE reported that the court said Beam was out of line to mandate that students wear masks while in school and affirmed a lower Commonwealth Court ruling from earlier in the year.
The earlier ruling said that the state’s Disease Control and Prevention Act of 1955 did not provide Beam “the blanket authority to create new rules and regulations out of whole cloth.”
FOX-43 reported that the court’s written opinion summarizing the ruling has not yet been released, but that the initial suit was filed by parents in several schools district as well as Republican politicians, including enate Leader Jake Corman III, R-State College, and state Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford.
Senior Deputy State Attorney General Sean Kirkpatrick argued in a Philadelphia courtroom on Wednesday that the Wolf administration did indeed have the authority to enforce school mask mandates, saying that the Delta variant was “causing a lot more harm to children.”
Wolf spokeswoman Beth Rementer weighed in after the court ruled against the administration, saying that the court’s decision was seen as “extremely disappointing,” and indicating that they plan to continue to fight the decision:
“The administration recognizes that many school districts want to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff, and we are hopeful they will make appropriate mitigation decisions moving forward,” Rementer said.