On Tuesday, Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled that a ban preventing school districts from imposing mask mandates was unconstitutional. The ban will be temporarily suspended so that schools can continue to enforce mask mandates to protect their students from the spread of coronavirus.
The court deemed the ban unconstitutionalBecause it was part of a series budget bills. The Arizona constitution prohibits policies not related to such bills being included in the legislation.
The court’s ruling, which was unanimousThe decision was made just two hours after the deliberations between the parties had ended on Tuesday. But the final opinion has not yet been issued; in the court’s brief order, Chief Justice Robert Brutinel said the opinion would come “in due course.”
The court will then decide whether the ban should remain in place, taking into account the unconstitutional nature of the ban. During arguments the justices of court asked both sides what kind of remedy should be enforcedIf they declared the ban unconstitutional. Lawyers for the state who supported the ban on mask mandates said that the ruling should acknowledge that the bill was not passed correctly, but allow the ban in place. The ban was opposed by several plaintiffs, including child advocate groups and education, who want it to be thrown out entirely.
The ruling is a blow against Gov. Doug Ducey (R), an opponent of the ban. appointed five of the seven justices currently sitting on the bench.
“We are extremely disappointed in the ruling… We respect the role of the judiciary, but the court should give the same respect to the separate authority of the Legislature,” a spokesperson for Ducey said.
Phoenix Union High School District, one of over two dozen school districts to issue a mask mandate in spite of the state’s ban, praised the ruling.
“Phoenix Union is grateful for the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling this afternoon,” the district wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “Arizona’s classrooms are now safer places for students and educators.”
For now, the ruling is permissive 29 Arizona districts that issued mask mandatesBefore the ban was implemented, they continued to enforce their rules. A September poll shows that a majority of residents believe districts should have the power to enforce mask mandates.
According to that poll59% of Arizonans voted against the state’s ban on masks in schools. Only 37.5 percent voted in favor. According to the poll, 57% believed that masks should be required at schools.
Evidence has shown that mask mandates work to prevent the spread of coronavirus — including a study that was based in Arizona. According to that study’s findings, schools without mask mandates in place were 3.5 times more likely to have a COVID-19 outbreakSchools without mask requirements were less than schools with them.
Arizona is still considered to be a hotspot for coronaviruses in the U.S. Arizona currently ranks in the top ten. ninth-highest in terms of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. This rate is increasing, up 50 percent from two weeks ago — even though the country as a whole has seen its overall case rate decline by 8 percent during that same period.