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Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down statewide school mask mandate

Justices rule that the administration of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf exceeded its authority in imposing the requirement.

December 10, 2021 9:00pm

Updated: December 10, 2021 10:22pm

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court on Friday struck down the school mask mandate imposed by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, ruling his administration lacked the authority under state law to impose a statewide requirement.

The ruling affirmed a lower court decision, and opened the door for Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts to make their own decisions on whether students should be required to wear a mask in classrooms.

Wolf's press secretary Beth Rementer called the ruling "extremely disappointing," according to The Associated Press.

Republicans hailed the justices for reining in government overreach.

“The power for parents and local leaders to make health and safety decisions in our schools is restored,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, who was one of the plaintiffs.

The justices affirmed a lower Commonwealth Court ruling that state health officials lacked authority under state law to impose a statewide requirement, and that the decision was best left to local school districts.

Phill Kline, head of the nonprofit Amistad Project legal group, said the ruling was a win for personal freedom.

“Some government officials have used COVID to fundamentally reorder the nature of our government, and have violated democratic principles and personal liberty in the process. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed that this must stop,” Kline said.

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