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VA Supreme Court Dismisses Case Seeking to Overturn Youngkin's Exec Order Ending School Mask Mandates

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On Monday, the Supreme Court of Virginia rejected a petition brought by parents in the state seeking to invalidate Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order ending school mask mandates.

The writ of mandamus submitted by parents from the City of Chesapeake Public Schools in southern Virginia challenged Youngkin’s executive order precluding school districts from enforcing mandatory mask-wearing in class.

The justices, in a unanimous opinion, noted that a mandamus is an “extraordinary remedy” that has no application to Youngkin’s order, which he issued on his first day in office last month. The writ is designed to compel government officials to carry out duties they must fulfill by law.

In this case, the court found Youngkin has no affirmative duty to enforce a mask mandate. Virginia law grants school boards “discretion” in implementing such a mandate “as they deem appropriate for their individual circumstances.”

Further, nothing in the law can restrict “[Youngkin’s] effort to influence school masking requirements.”

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The justices stated in a footnote that they offered “no opinion on the legality” of Youngkin’s executive order.

Multiple school districts have sued the governor over it, and an Arlington judge placed a temporary restraining order on it on Friday, barring enforcement as the case makes its way through the court system, The Washington Post reported.

Another lawsuit is being brought by parents against Loudoun County Public Schools for failing to follow Youngkin’s executive order, according to The Associated Press.

The governor and state Attorney General Jason Miyares celebrated Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in their favor.

“We are pleased by the dismissal. We will continue to protect the rights of parents to make decisions regarding their child’s health, education, upbringing, and care,” Youngkin tweeted.


“This is a victory for Virginia families,” Miyares said in a statement.

“At the beginning of this pandemic, Governor [Ralph] Northam used his broad emergency powers to close places of worship, private businesses and schools and impose a statewide mask mandate,” Miyares added

“Nearly two years later, we have better risk mitigation strategies and vaccines, and we know much more about the efficacy of requiring children to wear masks all day. We agree with the Court’s decision and will continue to defend the Executive Order.”

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Youngkin noted in a Tuesday tweet that even Democratic governors are now taking steps to end classroom mask mandates.

“Our kids deserve the chance to live their lives, so it’s good to see Oregon, Connecticut, Delaware, & New Jersey taking steps to return to normalcy,” he wrote.

“Governors across the country are leading the way by revisiting universal mask mandates for kids in schools.”

A version of this article originally appeared on Patriot Project.

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