A driver for Uber and Lyft in Chicago is slapping the CDC with a lawsuit over their federally enforced mask mandate claiming it is unconstitutional and violates his freedom of speech and religion.
Justin Mahwikizi is contending that since he is a Christian it goes against his religious principles to turn down anyone in need of a driver, mask or not. “It’s against my Christian beliefs to refuse service to someone in need, referring to the Good Samaritan parable of Jesus Christ and the Bible,” he told Business Insider during a phone interview on Saturday. “And so I’m arguing that the CDC is infringing on my religious practice rights that’s forcing me to deny service to someone in need.”
The lawsuit follows a debate over whether those individuals that are already vaccinated or who test negative for COVID should be allowed to ride via Uber or Lyft rideshare programs. The CDC’s guidance from January 29 orders all passengers to wear a mask on public transit, including planes, buses, and rideshares. Drivers are mandated to wear masks as well and the order is currently in effect until mid-September.
Now that the pandemic is dying down, the debate on forcing the mask issue is heating up even more. Senator Ted Cruz and a number of other conservative senators are seeking to end the federal mask mandate altogether for those that are vaccinated.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
Appearing on Fox News’ Night Court, Attorneys Brian Claypool and Robert Patillo debated the issue on Wednesday.
Patillo called Mahwikizi a “male Karen” and labeled the case as frivolous and stated it should be dismissed out of hand.
But Claypool took the Christian stance on the issue noting that he would always help someone in need. He also contended that we should be celebrating freedom, not mask mandates. He says there should be tangible evidence that there is a threat to the driver in order to force passengers to wear masks. Claypool added that if they show a vaccination card or a negative test, they should be able to ride in the Uber or Lyft ride.
Despite the debate on both sides raging, Democrats are still pushing for enforcement of the mask mandate while traveling. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated in May that wearing a mask was a “matter of safety, but it’s also a matter of respect.” There has been no apparent shifting of that stance.
“We are not back to normal yet and we are not out of the woods yet as a country with this pandemic,” Secretary Pete Buttigieg remarked in June. “Of course, the decisions will continue to be on the part of public health authorities and driven by public health consideration.”
The driver finds it unacceptable that he has had to leave a number of potential customers behind because they were not wearing a mask.
“It asks rideshare drivers to refuse service to those in need whether someone in the party doesn’t have a mask on or a child can’t keep a mask on,” commented Mahwikizi.
“The Federal transportation mask mandate asks me to refuse service to people in need who may be in dangerous neighborhoods or if there is bad weather,” he stated. “The FTMM as it’s known does violate constitutional rights, religion, and speech. The order is unconstitutional nationwide because it violates several 14th Amendment rights of businesses where you cherry-pick which businesses where everyone has to wear a mask and which ones don’t. It becomes an irrational order.”
According to 7News, it’s also hurting his business. “Eighty percent of my clients daily now don’t wear masks,” Mahwikizi said. “So I’m being forced to refuse 80 percent of my business.”
Mahwikizi is seeking a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to keep the CDC and HHS from enforcing the mask mandate. He is representing himself in the lawsuit.
“The [mandate] is arbitrary, irrational, and capricious because the Federal Defendants failed to reasonably explain why other measures are insufficient to tackle the rapidly declining COVID-19 infection and death rates,” he wrote.
“The acceptance of service is a form of free speech,” he penned in his complaint that was filed in the US District Court in the Northern District of Illinois.
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