There’s some confusion after Virginia’s highest court tossed out a lawsuit from Chesapeake parents against Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive order to end mask mandates in schools.
The lawsuit argued that Youngkin’s mandate, issued on his first day in office, violated state law.
However, in the opinion issued by the Supreme Court, the justices dismissed the case, saying the lawsuit asked for solutions the justices couldn’t provide.
The lawsuit called for a “writ of prohibition,” meaning the parents wanted to stop Youngkin from exercising power they say he doesn’t have.
The Supreme Court opinion said the solution of “prohibition” was used in the wrong context and couldn’t apply to the governor or the school board.
In short, the case was thrown out because the parents asked for the wrong types of remedies. The Supreme Court made it clear, they aren’t ruling on the legality of the case.
Local law experts say it could leave the door open for future litigation.
“It didn’t diminish or dismiss the local school boards’ abilities to determine whether masks should be required or not,” President of the Virginia Bar Association Victor Cardwell says. “They said, we’re not saying whether what the governor has done is legal or illegal. What we’re saying to you people who are challenging is you haven’t really given us an issue that we can consider at the moment.”
This does not impact the previous decision an Arlington judge made that says schools have the final say on if students should wear masks or not, something Youngkin’s team has said they plan to appeal.