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Constitutional Rights & the Public’s Health

Machovec, et al. v. Palm Beach County

Overview

Machovec, et al. v. Palm Beach County (Florida District Court of Appeal, 4th District, January 27, 2021): A Florida appeals court denied a request to temporarily prevent enforcement of a county emergency order that mandates wearing “facial coverings” at businesses, public places, county and municipal government facilities, and while using public transportation. Private citizens argued that the mask mandate amounted to an unconstitutional infringement on their right to privacy. The appeals court agreed with the lower court that a person’s right under the state constitution to be “let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life,” while important is not absolute. Rather, citizens’ private rights must be weighed in the context of societal circumstances and values. Ultimately, the court upheld the county mask mandate during a public health emergency as having a “clear rational basis based on the protection of public health.” Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – March 15, 2021.

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