Virginia Supreme Court Rejects Challenge To Youngkin’s Executive Order Lifting Mask Mandate In Schools

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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The Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed a legal challenge Monday attempting to block Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order lifting the mask mandate previously placed on schools by former Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

“We dismiss the petition because the relief requested does not lie against any of the respondents … Save for Governor Youngkin and the School Board, the initial petition and the proposed amended petition do not allege a source of any relevant duty incumbent on any of the other respondents,” the court ruled.

The challenge, Castillo v. Youngkin, argued that Youngkin’s position as governor doesn’t give him the authority to lift the mask mandate “without consent of the representatives of the people.”

Thirteen parents of students in Chesapeake Public Schools filed a petition asking the court to rule that Youngkin’s executive order is “void and unenforceable and should grant prohibition, mandamus and other appropriate relief.”(RELATED: Northern Virginia School Districts Go To War With Youngkin Over Repeal Of Mask Mandates)

Youngkin signed the order making masks optional Jan. 15, describing it as an order to “empower Virginia parents in their children’s education and upbringing by allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school.”

“The parents of any child enrolled in a[n] elementary or secondary school or a school based early childcare and educational program may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program,” the order states.

A lower Virginia Court blocked Youngkin’s order Friday.

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

“We agree with the Court’s decision and will continue to defend the Executive Order. This is a victory for Virginia families,” Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a statement.