(Reuters) – A New York judge struck down the state’s mask mandate on Monday, one week before it was due to expire, ruling the governor overstepped her authority in imposing a rule that needed to have been passed by the state legislature.
Judge Thomas Rademaker of New York State Supreme Court on Long Island found that the state legislature last year curbed any governor’s ability to issue decrees, such as a mask mandate, amid a declared state of emergency.
It was latest setback for executive branch officials at state and federal levels. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Biden’s vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses. A judge in Texas last week ruled that Biden could not require federal employees to be vaccinated.
Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, vowed to fight back, saying in a statement, “We strongly disagree with this ruling, and we are pursuing every option to reverse this immediately.”
“My responsibility as Governor is to protect New Yorkers throughout this public health crisis, and these measures help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Hochul said.
Disagreements and court action over mandates in a number of states have become a flashpoint of the pandemic response in the United States, often dividing Democrats and Republicans.