Feb 18, 2022 - Politics

Paxton sues to stop federal mask mandates on planes

Ken Paxton up close
Ken Paxton is a man of many suits. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an attempt to end the federal mask mandate on planes.

  • The latest suit comes days after he sued the company that owns Facebook, alleging the technology conglomerate violated the state’s privacy protections by utilizing facial recognition technology without users’ consent.

Why it matters: The latest suits are part of a slew of efforts by Paxton, who is running for re-election this year, to challenge both large technology companies and COVID-19 safety measures, issues that resonate most with conservatives.

  • Texas has also sued the federal government over vaccine mandates for federal contractors and large businesses.

Context: Paxton is facing both Land Commissioner George P. Bush and far-right Congressman Louie Gohmert in the Republican primary.

By the numbers: According to a DMN/UT Tyler poll, 41% of registered voters either approve or strongly approve of the job Paxton has done.

  • In the same poll, 39% either disapprove or strongly disapprove.
  • 32% said they believe Paxton “has the integrity to serve as attorney general.”
  • 68% either disagreed or said they weren’t sure.

Zoom out: Paxton is still facing a criminal case over alleged securities fraud and is under investigation by the FBI over unrelated allegations by several of his aides that he took bribes.

What theyre saying: "Biden’s repeated disregard of the individual liberties of Texans is not only disrespectful to the U.S. Constitution, it is also troublesome that any president thinks they can act above the law while hardworking Americans standby," Paxton said in a statement Wednesday.

  • "President Biden cannot continue governing through executive edicts."

Worth noting: The Supreme Court has on several occasions rejected requests to block federal mask mandates for travel.

  • The CDC and the Human Health and Services Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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