AG Nessel Issues Statement Following Sixth Circuit Ruling Affirming MDHHS' Mask Mandating Authority

Contact: Lynsey Mukomel agpress@michigan.gov
Agency: Attorney General

August 24, 2021

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a statement after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sided with State defendants Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Elizabeth Hertel and Nessel in Resurrection School v. Hertel et al.  

The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's decision to deny plaintiffs' request to enjoin a mask mandate because plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed on their Free Exercise, Equal Protection, and Substantive Due Process claims. In its ruling, the district court noted that MDHHS had a rational basis for the mask mandate. 

"This ruling affirms our continued stance that MDHHS was well within its jurisdiction to impose a mask mandate to help control the spread of COVID-19 as children went back to the classroom last school year," Nessel said. "As science has proven and now the Sixth Circuit agrees, enacting a mask mandate in the manner in which MDHHS did so does not violate one's rights-it is a measure by which we can better protect public health." 

The case was first filed last October in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Resurrection School, a Catholic elementary school in Lansing, challenged MDHHS orders requiring children to wear a face covering in school and later appealed to the Sixth Circuit when the district court sided with the State. 

A copy of Sixth Circuit's ruling, issued late Monday, is on the Department's website

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