Freedom Foundation files lawsuit, calling Washington’s mask mandate ‘government overreach’

An advocacy group has filed a lawsuit challenging Washington’s mask mandate, and whether Governor Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman have the authority to issue such an order. 

The lawsuit was filed by the Freedom Foundation, a non-profit organization with offices in Washington, Oregon, Ohio and California. 

According to its website, the Freedom Foundation’s mission is to “advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government.” 

The organization has equated the mask mandate in Washington to “government overreach,” and says it violates the First Amendment. 

“If people choose to wear a mask, that’s their choice. But Inslee is going after otherwise law-abiding citizens when there are rioters destroying Washington cities such as Seattle with no punishment in sight,” said Aaron Withe, national director of the Freedom Foundation. 

The FF argues the mandate goes against Washingtonian’s freedom of conscience, which is prohibited by the state constitution. 

READ: A look at the laws which allow the state to issue a face mask mandate

Washington’s mask mandate went into effect at the end of June, requiring everyone in Washington to wear a face covering when indoors or in a public setting where social distancing isn’t possible. 

Inslee recently expanded the order, requiring businesses to legally turn away customers who refuse to wear a mask. 

The mandate was issued in an attempt to lower a recent spike in COVID-19 cases statewide. 

READ: Businesses required to turn away customers without masks under expanded statewide order 

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Freedom Foundation.