Wearing a Mask Violates my Constitutional Rights: Think Again

florida mask mandates for covid19 and coronavirus - many find them unconstitutional but our criminal defense law firm disagrees Practically everyone has an opinion on whether or not we should be required to wear masks in light of COVID-19 and the Coronavirus Pandemic. Many people are quite vocal about how wearing a mask violates their constitutional rights and/or civil liberties.  

 

Quite a few people, especially in South Florida, believe wearing a mask doesn't actually stop the spread of the virus. Others believe wearing a mask inhibits their ability to speak or even breathe. Whatever the reasoning is, masks are at the forefront of current political conversations. 

 

Currently, in South Florida Mask Mandates are in place in many counties - for the time being, however, Gov. DeSantis has prohibited local governments from collecting fines from people who are not abiding by the mask mandates.

 

The Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber recently told Local 10 that they are still giving out citations "even if we can't collect the fine right now" -- hinting that perhaps fines could be collected at a later date.

 

It’s a very heated topic - as you can see by this Florida man in a Fort Myers Costco aggressively yelling at an elderly woman who asked him why he wasn’t wearing a mask in the store. Costco requires everyone who is inside the store to be masked at all times. 

 

 

The real question is, can the government actually require us to wear masks? 

The Complete Guide to Coronavirus, COVID-19 and Quarantine-Related Crimes in South Florida: free downloadIf your answer is currently no, like the people in the following video, well, here's why you may be wrong. 

 

Palm beach Mask town hall meeting 

 

Palm Beach County voted to mandate that masks be worn in all public spaces at the end of June.

 

 

First, it's important to talk a little bit about the arguments against wearing a mask, and why they could possibly be seen as valid in some people's eyes. 

 

In Palm Beach County, an appeals court ruling on Jan. 27 found that Palm Beach County cannott be blocked from enforcing its COVID-19 mask mandate, according to the Sun Sentinel.

 

Earlier in January, a Boynton Beach woman who was against mask mandates was arrested in West Boca after refusing to cover her face in a bagel shop. Cindy Falco-DiCorrado then refused to leave the store and was arrested on Florida trespassing charges.

 

In South Florida, Sun Sentinel reported: "Mask mandates have proven to be a wedge ... with many seeing them as an extension of political differences between mask supporting liberals on one side and conservatives who press their personal freedoms on the other."

 

The appeals court, however, ruled that Palm beach CAN enforce their mask mandate as the county's mandate "has a clear rational basis based on the protection of public health."

June 2021 Update: One Florida Appeals court ruled that mask mandate is unconstitutional

While a Palm Beach County appeals court found that mask mandates were not unconstitutional and that the county had a right to enforce a mask mandate, other counties in Florida believe differently.
An appeals court in Alachua County ruled that a mask mandate was, in fact unconstitutional. The court ruled that anyone in the county:

"'reasonably could expect autonomy over his body, including his face, which means that he was correct to claim an entitlement to be let alone and free from intrusion by Alachua County’s commission chairman,' Judge Adam Scott Tanenbaum, an appointee of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), wrote." Source.

This judge continued to state the mask mandate implicated the right of privacy and was "presumptively unconstitutional as a result."

As far as we're aware, this is the first ruling in Florida to assert that a mask mandate may be unconstitutional, and also the first time a Florida judge is using bodily autonomy to affirm someone's right to not have their breathing restricted.

Update: Broward voters will face the cops if they refuse to wear masks (or become unruly)

After a bit of back and forth - turns out people WILL need masks to vote in Broward County. People without masks will not be able to vote in Broward County, Florida; according to the Sun Sentinel.

Broward's Election Cheif said that police will be able to remove troublemakers from the polling sites if they're causing an issue by not wearing a mask, or if they're trying to intimidate other voters. If someone refuses to put a mask on to vote, BSO deputies already have pre-granted permission to remove that person from the polls.

Anyone who is "disruptive and unruly" can be removed from polling sites by Broward Sheriff's Office.

Broward's mask mandate remains in effect, requiring anyone in public to wear a mask to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

Find more voter information at your counties' Supervisor of Elections website!
Palm Beach: https://bit.ly/3dRGodb  
Broward: https://bit.ly/2LfEqIz 
Miami-Dade: https://bit.ly/2Hj50PK 

Miami Police officer punished for Trump Mask at polling place

Turns out... The Florida Man can even mess up following the rules. Near an early voting polling location for the 2020 presidential ellection, a Miami, Florida police officer wore a mask supporting President Donald Trump. It's unclear whether or not Officer Ubeda was on duty or not at the time, but he was in full uniform and was armed.

Thankfully, the Miami Polcie department has said: "This behavior is unacceptable, a violation of departmental policy and is being addressed immediately."

Florida law says that state employees cannot use offical authority to interfere in or influence elections.

Police called to Fort Lauderdale Early voting site for maskless voters Oct. 19

Police were called to an early voting site mid-October due to 4 people, attempting to vote, who ignored poll workers' instructions to wear masks or facial coverings. The people allegedly claimed to have severe asthma. The voters claimed the attempts to not let them vote without masks was voter suppression.

Since there is no statewide mask mandate in Florida - rules are up to individual counties. After consulting legal advisors about the matter, the officials allowed the voters to cast their ballots as long as they didn't create any further disturbance, according to the police report.

Does wearing a mask violate your first amendment rights?

Let's break down the first amendment into its core components. The first amendment grants you the right to: 

  • The freedom of speech
  • The freedom to practice religion
  • The right to assembly
  • The right to air out your grievances against the government

Some people are currently arguing that all of these rights are being trampled on by current mask-mandate laws, which are aimed to curb the spread of coronavirus in South Florida. In their mind, you are not able to speak in the same capacity when wearing a mask. You are not able to practice religion as the mask inhibits you from breathing God’s free air. The right to assembly is being violated due to the fact that we have social distance, and if we are not able to speak in assemblies, we cannot criticize the government. 

 

Firstly, a mask doesn't impede your ability to practice free speech.

Time and place restrictions are placed on free speech in order to protect the general well being of the people. 

 

Have you ever heard the saying “you can't yell fire in a crowded room unless there actually is a fire”? 

 

Something similar actually applies in this case. If the ability to speak impedes the ability to have a healthy and safe society, then the ability to speak in those specific situations may be restricted or modified until the safety of the public is insured. Most if not all constitutional lawyers agree with this notion, so it’s something you should consider if you’re on the fence about whether or not wearing masks is constitutional. 

 

Second, the requirement to wear a mask does not impede your ability to practice religion.

As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the Supreme Court in the 1983 case of Employment Division v. Smith, laws that do not intend to single out religion but instead apply widely must be “rationally related” to a “legitimate” governmental interest to be constitutional. The requirement to wear a mask falls into this category of rationally related and legitimate laws as protected by that supreme court decision. 

 

Third, the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of government criticism both fall under the same category as freedom of speech.

Given that we are still enduring a global pandemic that is just hardly starting to see confirmed COVID-19 cases go down in South Florida, it’s not the time to assemble and put other people at risk.

 

But, let's look at a situation where the freedom of assembly wasn't trampled during our pandemic, and if it was, it was dealt with. In June, there was a significant number of protests following the murder of George Floyd. 

 

The people took to the streets, including in the state of Florida, and they were met with open arms by law enforcement, which allowed them to not only protest, but to assemble in a safe and productive manner. Check out the following article which highlights some of these specific situations. 

 

Florida officers take a knee : “Police take a knee in solidarity, prayer with protesters in South Florida”

 

Finally, all rights are kept in check by what is described as “police power”. 

 

Police power is an ability that the government uses to protect the welfare of the people in times of need. 

 

Now the question to some is: is police power being abused? Are we actually in a time of great need? 

 

Simply put: Yes. We are still in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic - this is the perfect time for our government to be exercising police power.

 

If all of that jargon didn't convince you, in a 1995 court case it was decided that: “There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis, organized society could not exist with safety to its members.”  

If there is even case law to back it up, you know it's a sound argument. 

 

This article does not serve to go against our constitutional rights, it actually does the complete opposite. It keeps our rights in check in order to preserve the ability to call into question actual infringements. 

 

If we begin to wave around a sense of checks and balances on government authority that are unprecedented, we undermine a system that is put in place to protect our sovereignty. If you feel as if your constitutional rights are actually being violated, however, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced constitutional lawyer in South Florida (or wherever you call home). They will be able to explain the situation to you in terms you fully understand and identify how it is best to approach your situation, even bringing the case in front of a judge if deemed necessary. They will make sure your voice gets heard and try to aid you in enacting change if change is necessary. 

 

CONCLUSION:

Some of y’all won’t appreciate this, but here’s the long and short of it: wearing a mask does not violate your constitutional rights. You CAN be mandated to wear a mask. It is not unconstitutional to put mask mandates in place - whether in South Florida or anywhere in America.

 

Your first amendment, and all other constitutional amendments, are not violated by wearing a mask that helps protect the welfare of people. 

 

Think of all the people’s lives you help save by wearing a mask and practicing the common decency of trying to help the general public. Afterall, isn't it our responsibility to “love thy neighbor” and take care of one another? 

 

While being required to WEAR a mask doesn’t violate your constitutional rights --  being FORBIDDEN to wear a mask by an employer just might violate your constitutional rights .

 

A Florida Man, in this case Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods has instructed employees of his office not to wear masks when they are on duty, according to CBS and many other news outlets. 

 

In an email to employees he said: "This is no longer a debate nor is it up for discussion.”

 

"So, as for us, my order will stand as is when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn," Woods wrote in his email. "If at any time you are confronted by any individual complaining, berating you or just being a difficult individual, you will politely and professionally tell them 'I am not required to wear a mask nor will I, per the Order of the Sheriff' and then walk away from them," Woods wrote. "From that point on it will be my burden and responsibility to take care of the person and answer their problem, complaint or their question."

 

The email also details guidance for visitors who enter the sheriff's department: Anyone who enters wearing a mask will be asked to remove it.

 

The question is - can you, especially as an employer, forbid someone from practicing best practices to ensure their own safety and health? And for visitors to your office?

 

We don’t think so. Do you? 

 

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24 Comments
This is hilarious! I couldn't even finish reading cause it was getting real deep. The CDC stated that masks don't prevent contracting C19. The same is printed on the packaging the masks come in. What masks actually do are prevent the spread of C19 when worn by those who have contracted it.
by Logan Deal-Figueroa June 5, 2021 at 08:02 PM
The failure of the Rossen Law Firm to expressly defend the Rights of others seems dubious. A mask is a choice like a medial procedure is a choice. There is plenty of case law defending the Right of a person to refuse a medical procedure, including a vaccine, or something similar. Refusing to wear a mask is similar. Mask logic would dictate we should have been wearing masks for the last 100 years given the number of people that died from influenza. Nor has the government forced influenza vaccination over the last 100 years. So, the "public safety" argument = false. Now the CDC mandate is vaccine = no mask and unvaccinated = mask, it's obvious the government is moving into Rights violation trying to force vaccine or mask. But I wouldn't expect a group full of psychopaths to 100% tell the truth nor defend Rights. (A Top 10 Jobs for Psychopaths = Lawyer, source: Kevin Dutton, Cambridge psychologist)
by @FayNCRises Twitter May 14, 2021 at 05:31 PM
This is a nice opinion piece, but that's all it is. DeSantis has successfully snuffed out all the pro-maskers. They don't work anyway. Show me one piece of empirical evidence that proves they prevent the spreading of covid 19... there isn't any evidence, just opinions. And that political hack, Fauci's opinion isn't worth anything as he changes it constantly.
by JPA May 9, 2021 at 05:28 PM
If you think and believe that masks, and subsequently vaccines, protect you, then as long as you are wearing your mask (or masks - the more the better), and as long as you are vaccinated, you should be SAFE. So, why bother with what other people do. These are symptoms of "Command & Control" personalities of egotistic mania where you believe that you know more than others and you should dictate how everyone else should live their lives to PLEASE YOU. MY FREEDOMS DO NOT CEASE WHERE YOUR FEARS BEGIN - you may want to consider staying at home where you are SAFE and away from FREE, UNCONTAMINATED HUMAN BEINGS... After all, FREEDOM and PURITY don't seem to rhyme with you! Especially when the virus has NEVER been isolated and no scientific evidence has shown Masks provide any protection given the alleged size of the virus. So com'on folks, face mask supporters are nothing more that POLITICAL STATEMENTS... Do yourselves a favor and REVIEW THE SCIENCE that you live by, better yet, UNDERSTAND IT IF YOU CAN, before asking everyone to wear a diaper on their face and bringing the ENTIRE PLANET to a complete halt... That said, have you ever given any thought to the Carnegie & Sufferings that this so called Pandemic has brought to the world? Or may be that does not matter to you as after all who cares so long as you and your cat/dog are safe giving orders to everyone around you. Grow up and Re-Activate your Brains Cells - they may come in handy someday. Best !!!
by FLast May 6, 2021 at 03:19 AM
What about the right of freedom of movement which is severely hindered when people find it too hard to breathe with a mask on? And the fact that masks do not protect you to begin with? OUr body our choice, not the government!! ıf you love your freedom STAND UP AND FIGHT
by Truthseeker April 22, 2021 at 11:44 AM
Do not were the mask. When were the mask should be your choice. When the fathers of the constitution wrote the constitution was not the issue of the mask them. So of course you wont see it in the constitution. We who wants to be Free have sufficient of this none science. Stop this mandate now. Tire of it and I will not vote for anyone supporting this regulation on traveling, cruising, working or anything. We going to survive, it is not up to you, it is up to God.....
by Jose April 11, 2021 at 11:10 AM
Do not were the mask.
by Jose April 11, 2021 at 11:03 AM
What are the chances of success of a class-action lawsuit against organized anti-mask groups for reckless endangerment of rest of us? They are putting our lives and our health at risk by their actions. Why aren’t we seeing these types of lawsuits?
by Jake Thompson April 1, 2021 at 09:56 PM
Ok you can argue it doesn't violate this or that all you want but it's an arbitrary mandate based on very little evidence. Government can't mandate we wear underwear on our heads or dancing shoes on sundays just because it doesn't violate certain rights. It's not law and is being beaten in court the same as your argument because it is not law.
by Dane March 25, 2021 at 09:31 AM
So you are telling me a women has the right to murder her baby because it is her body her chose. But I don’t have the right not to wear a mask because it’s my face and my choice, has this turned into Iran cover your face. Sounds like a lot of Democrat bullshit to me.
by Judy christensen March 9, 2021 at 05:29 PM
So I am confused. If the government said all women must wear hats or be fined, that would be okay based on this thinking?
by Joseph March 5, 2021 at 08:00 AM
There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis, organized society could not exist with safety to its members.” The problem with citing this case law as an analogous reason to mandate masks is the a priori assumption we are in a the throes of a human extinction catastrophe , necessitating abrogation of individual rights. We’ve improperly conflated contagion with mortality. The CDC facts are THIS: 99% of people that test positive for SAR-COV-2 of all ages, gender, and race survive. The percentage s rise to 99%+ if you’re under 45. The militant government response of lockdowns and masks are disproportionate to the effects of COVID. Some perspective, every time you get behind the wheel of a car, your survival rate is only 98%—given the government COVID responses, why are cars still legal?
by ADelu March 1, 2021 at 08:20 AM
The object of statutory law is the "person." A person is a legal/commercial entity. No statute can require a duty of a flesh and blood man or woman unless they have harmed another man or woman and that man or woman can prove that he or she was harmed. PROVE someone someone caught a particular virus at a particular place from a particular man or woman. Employers can only require an "employee" to wear a mask, never the man or woman even if the man or woman is occupying the office of employee. Without a contract where the man or woman specifically agrees to wear a mask, there is no duty.
by Rog February 27, 2021 at 06:01 PM
stop
by jj February 25, 2021 at 01:38 PM
The writer has forgotten something: the government cannot obligate you to do something, then punish you for failing to do it (or failing to do it properly). Before we get into a discussion about how this statement is not accurate, remember that many of the popular examples that seem to be to the contrary actually are not examples of spontaneous obligations. Traffic laws and taxes especially come to mind. Remember, traffic laws are nothing more than a set of conditions one agrees to to use public roads, and are extremely limited in scope (e.g. they only apply on the public road and only to those operating a vehicle, and only the operator of the vehicle is held accountable, even for the actions of passengers). Furthermore, the penalty for failing to obey traffic laws is ultimately forfeiture of user privileges, and nothing more. Nada. Zilch. Refusing to pay taxes, in and of itself, is not an offense. Sure, the government can seize whatever it is owed, along with any collection costs and interest, but it cannot punish the delinquent taxpayer without evidence of fraudulent filing or any other criminal act.
by Tom Forrest February 22, 2021 at 07:34 AM
Great news, Terry!! I don’t even know you, but I’m super excited that I get to be the one to tell you...all of 2020 was a bummer, it’s nice to be able to share good news for once. There’s NO law that prohibits you from carrying your concealed firearm while wearing a facial covering, especially considering you’re wearing a facial covering for the health & well-being of the general public, and in many cases, it’s mandatory to wear a mask. You won’t be penalized by way of violating your constitutional rights due to a temporary mandate, of which you are given no control, or permitted to opt out of. IN FACT, even if it wasn’t a mandate, you could still legally carry your concealed firearm while wearing a mask. There IS a catch though...your concealed weapons permit only prohibits facial coverings while carrying IF you’re covering your face in an attempt to purposefully obscure your identity, or while in the commission of a crime. So, all you have to do in order to continue adherence of mask mandates, but also be permitted to carry your gun while observing the mandate, is not commit a f*ck*ng crime. Isn’t that AMAZING news?!? I know it’s getting harder and harder to know which meme’s to get your news from, but now you can cross this one off the list & shoot anyone you want, anywhere you want....obviously within reason & in accordance to state and federal laws. This might help clear some stuff up for you: https://www.factcheck.org/2020/06/wearing-face-mask-during-pandemic-doesnt-affect-concealed-carry-permit/ That’s good advice, you’re welcome
by Shay Frances February 9, 2021 at 06:51 AM
if masks work, why dont we wear them every flu season??
by Sandra February 4, 2021 at 03:04 PM
by Tony Exrel Hawk Valentino Grissom Silverdragon January 29, 2021 at 05:58 PM
Whenever I hear Think again it's generally code for 'I don't agree and want to change your mind.' Not interested. I've become less social since the mask mandate was passed.
by Jeremy Witte January 5, 2021 at 11:33 AM
Not, it would not put you in violation of your concealed carry. You are not wearing a mask to hide your identity, nor does a surgical mask hide your identity in any effective way. It might be wise not to blur that distinction by wearing anything other than a surgical mask, such as a bandana, etc. and it might be wise to not wear sunglasses or anything that hides your eyes to be sure you do not appear to be attempting to hide your identity. You are wearing your mask according to the law. You are carrying a weapon according to the law. The two laws are not in conflict.
by Lee Hall December 18, 2020 at 01:37 PM
Terry you are a moron... you can wear a face mask (unless you live in California or Illinois) while legally exercising your second amendment rights. it seems you just want to argue a moot point... do your research first before posting something stupid.
by j December 8, 2020 at 11:51 AM
Here is my question, I am not in florida, I am in Iowa, the governor has issued a mask mandate... with that being said, I have my permit not only to purchase but to open and conceal carry a weapon, this permit has been given to me by the state. when I am practicing my second amendment right to conceal carry, I would be in violation of that right if I were to be carrying a weapon while wearing a mask of some sort. What is your legal opinion to this mandate violating my second amendment right to carry a firearm
by Terry November 29, 2020 at 09:29 PM
Hmmm
by jose l. seda November 27, 2020 at 10:53 PM
by William R III October 14, 2020 at 10:10 PM
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