Supreme Court dismisses challenge against federal mask mandate for air travel

Dec 12, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The U.S. Supreme Court this week rejected a challenge to block the federal mask mandate at U.S. airports and domestic air travel amid the ongoing pandemic. Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. denied the 89-page emergency petition for review without comment and without referring the application to the full court.

The lawsuit was seeking an immediate injunction to stop the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) mandate requiring face coverings, on the grounds of medical reasons. Michael Seklecki filed the suit on behalf of himself and his autistic son. Seklecki says he and his son can’t tolerate wearing masks, and the son needs to fly on a regular basis to seek out-of-state medical care. Lucas Wall, who has already filed another lawsuit seeking to block the mask mandate, also joined the case.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for our bi-weekly aviation newsletter

The New York Times reported on the TSA’s response to the lawsuit. The agency argued that Congress put the mask mandate in place to protect passengers, and argued that the plaintiffs failed to “[pursue] an available procedure for obtaining medical exemptions.” Chief Justice Roberts did not comment on his ruling or refer it to the full court. According to the Times, this suggests he “viewed the legal question in the case as insubstantial.” In other words, this lawsuit has no chance to be taken up by the highest court in the land.

The TSA implemented the latest mask requirement shortly after President Joe Biden took office in January. The mandate applies to everyone passing through “TSA airport screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation systems.” The mandate applies to all U.S. airports, commercial aircraft, buses and rail systems.

Related: New rules for international travel, mask mandate extended

Airline employees have had to endure a huge increase in unruly passengers and sometimes violent confrontations with passengers over the enforcement of the mask mandate.

Related: If you threaten a Delta employee, you could lose your SkyMiles

The TSA has extended the mask mandate several times to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and most recently extended it again during the outbreak traced to the delta variant of the coronavirus. The mask requirement will remain in place until at least March 18, 2022, at which time the TSA will review it and decide whether or not to extend it once again.

Featured Image: SOPA Images for Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.