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Judge tosses suit challenging governor’s mask order

Gov. Kay Ivey's statewide mask order is challenged in court.
Gov. Kay Ivey's statewide mask order is challenged in court.
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 12:16 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s statewide order to wear face coverings in public places to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin entered the order following a hearing Tuesday.

Real estate agent Debbie Mathis and retired sheriff’s deputies, Larry Lewis and Barry Munza, all of Jackson County, filed the lawsuit in Montgomery against Ivey, State Health Officer Scott Harris and the State Board of Health.

The lawsuit contends the mask order was illegally adopted and that plaintiffs face deprivation of liberty any time they interact with others.

The governor’s office asked the judge to dismiss the case, arguing the governor has the power under law to do so.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Earlier:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) - On Tuesday, a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s mask order goes before a judge in Montgomery Tuesday afternoon. Three Jackson County residents are suing, saying the governor can’t issue orders like this.

But the governor’s lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss this case, saying there’s a clear legal authority for the mask mandate.

Ultimately, a judge will make a ruling on whether or not the lawsuit can move forward.

Huntsville Attorney Mark McDaniel says the plaintiffs argue they have been deprived of due process and that being forced to wear a mask hurts their individual liberties.

But McDaniel says the state constitution is on the governor’s side and as the chief executive of the state, it’s her obligation to protect the people.

“The Constitution of 1901 of Alabama gives the governor the constitutional authority to do it, and the Alabama legislature of 1955 -- you’ve got laws that give the governor authority to do it,” McDaniel said. “But if somebody came to me and said ‘we want to contest this emergency order from the governor because we don’t want to wear a mask,’ I would say that she has the obligation under the constitution to protect the people of the state of Alabama.”

If the judge dismisses the case, McDaniel suspects the plaintiffs will appeal it to the Alabama Supreme Court and ultimately to the federal courts.

If the case is allowed to move forward, there’s no clear timeline for when it might be heard.

Copyright 2020 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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