Federal lawsuit challenges Colorado's mask mandate

Posted at 9:49 PM, Jul 24, 2020

Two Republican candidates for the Colorado House have filed a lawsuit challenging the mask order issued by Governor Polis.

Donna Walters of Larimer County, who is running for House District 52, and Mark Milliman of Boulder County, running for House District 11, filed the lawsuit against Gov. Polis, Boulder County Public Health, Larimer County Public Health, and the City of Fort Collins.

The lawsuit says the Governor and local governments cannot force people to wear face coverings in the name of public health.

Mark Patlan, the attorney representing Walters and Milliman, called the lawsuit symbolic.

"All of the orders by the defendants are compelled speech. The First and Fourteenth Amendments protect against compelled speech. Forcing already struggling businesses to enforce compelled speech mandates is worse because it exposes them to potential liability under federal civil rights statutes," Patlan said.

The lawsuit also challenges the science behind requiring masks.

“We know that cloth face coverings are ineffective at stopping viral spread according to peer-reviewed research so why are the Governor and others are forcing healthy people to wear ineffective or harmful face coverings?" said Milliman. “The Governor promised data-driven policy but gave us, instead, arbitrary and capricious policy based on hunches, wild exaggerations, and politics.”

Walter said people who would call the lawsuit political are partly right. It’s about political principles like free speech, rule of law, and much more. The government can’t force us to scare each other to death.”

The lawsuit wants to declare mask mandates for healthy people to be "unlawful compelled speech" and to stop enforcement of the mask mandate.