AG Jeff Landry responds to Gov. Edwards regarding mask mandate

I HAVE RESPONDED IN A LETTER TO GOVERNOR JOHN BEL EDWARDS ON HIS MASK MANDATE. Last week my office, the Louisiana Attorney General’s office, issued an official Opinion that John Bel Edwards mask mandate was unconstitutional. He then sent me a letter pushing back on this legal guidance. Today I have sent him a final letter in response. The text is below:

July 20, 2020

Hon. John Bel Edwards
Post Office Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Dear Governor Edwards,

I appreciate your deep concern over the official Opinion 20-0068 issued by the Louisiana Attorney General’s
Office last week.

Shortly after we – at great cost to our economy and personal freedoms – “flattened the curve,” you surprisingly applauded extraordinarily large groups of people who were gathering in violation of practically every order you had issued to contain the virus – orders which emphasized social distancing.

While you could have applauded people exercising their Constitutional right to the freedom of speech while at the same time chastised attendees for failing to protect people from the spread of the virus, you did only the former and none of the latter.

Now, you seek to further impede the Constitutional freedoms of all Louisianans without any concrete goal or objective based on published metrics.

After seeing your lack of admonition of those violating your guidelines, surely others – especially those in similar age groups – figured that if it was okay to gather in the streets in large numbers without social distancing or other protective measures, surely it was okay to gather in large groups at locations like nightclubs and bars.

In the last few weeks, the spike of virus cases is predominantly in the same age groups we saw take to the streets and then to the nightclubs and bars. Yet, you have taken no responsibility for allowing this to happen or for cheering it on without admonitions. You did not seem greatly concerned about the possibility that
these young people might go visit grandma and grandpa at the time.

The concern, under the law, is that you have seemed to pick and choose who receives the brunt of your executive authority. In place of a thoughtful use of your authority, you have decided to punish everyone not marching in the streets or destroying statues.

Now, you have placed our job creators in the crosshairs. Your mandates seek to put the burden on them to enforce your new rules. State immunity does not protect our job creators from federal civil rights claims or the myriad of other federal liabilities they may face in executing your edicts. It is simply wrong and beyond your authority.

Many citizens of Louisiana have reached out to our office with serious concerns over your decision-making on these issues. Their concerns, and my concerns, with your new mandate are not that it attempts to improve the situation we face with COVID-19; rather, it is that it does so in a manner that is destructive to the economy of our State and the livelihood of our citizens.

Thousands of small businesspeople could lose their entire life’s work because of your indiscriminate actions. Had you made more attempts to seek consultation with others, a more rational approach could have been made. As I have repeatedly stated, you can use a scalpel; but that would require you to take responsibility. I understand you are not interested in that as it is easier for you to turn citizen against citizen and business against customer.

As to any perceived change in position, it has to do with where we are today not where we were months ago.

Things have changed. We now know the severity of this disease and how it is nowhere in the ballpark of predictions made in March, not only because of our previous actions but because the scientific data indicates this to be the case.

Like you, I trusted the data and models generated in March. But since then, they have been proven to be wrong on a scale of grand magnitude. Therefore, our response needs to change by the same degree of magnitude. By the same token, your extraordinary powers need to change by the same degree of magnitude.

I noticed in your recent letter that you did not address the issues related to your actual authority and the legal mechanism to enforce it. You also seemed to struggle with the idea that a business, or my government office as you pointed out, could choose to require the use of a mask but that your statewide government fiat is not
the same. A mandate is government dictated; office policy is the choice of that private business or management of that office.

A mandate, under an emergency, should have metrics by which to advise the public on whether it has succeeded and when the supposedly temporary mandate would end. That information has not been provided either to me or my representatives who have participated in every UCG meeting which we were invited.

Unlike you, I have faith in the people of Louisiana. I think they are fully capable of making decisions and assuming risks associated with daily life. Driving to work every day is probably the most dangerous thing we do day-in-and-day-out, yet we do it routinely. We have chosen to exercise our right to assume that risk and make our livings.

Three months ago, like the two of us, the people of our State did not know or understand what they were facing. You and I stood together with them to take it on and “flatten the curve.” We did it to provide our health care professionals the ability to prepare for treatment and to establish better protocols.

Now, we must learn how to live with this. We have all been educated; this is no longer a complete unknown.

We know who is vulnerable. I think all citizens should take every measure possible to protect their own health, safety, and lives. I also believe we should give them every opportunity to do so. We should not turn neighbor against neighbor. We should not attempt to turn our job creators into state-run police. And we should be thoughtful and responsible to all, equally. You have not done so under these recent actions.

We can agree on one thing: people should take every measure to protect themselves and those with underlying health conditions should take extra precautions. People should wear masks if they deem them appropriate for the purpose of protecting themselves and others. We should encourage and educate people on their proper use. We should also educate our citizens on things they can do to boost their immune systems
and stay healthy.

This virus will not disappear tomorrow, and it will be difficult – if not next to impossible – to eradicate. The American Society for Microbiology has noted that “to date, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared only 2 diseases officially eradicated: smallpox caused by variola virus (VARV) and rinderpest caused by the rinderpest virus (RPV).”

A vaccine will not 100% rid us of this China-originating plague. We need to be working on practical, achievable, and realistic practices that we can perform long-term. You have not been doing so, and that is regrettable because – without realistic and achievable goals – we will continue to be reactionary.

Finally, I must again address your false attacks on my efforts throughout this crisis. You pretend as if I have not been engaged in the process; yet you know full well that either I or a member of my staff has attended, virtually in many cases, every meeting you mentioned. We have been available as a resource if, and when, needed. And we have evaluated meticulously every one of your executive orders.

The Attorney General’s Office has been extraordinarily generous in giving you every benefit of the doubt. Yet, we cannot conclude that you are now within your authority.

I stand by my opinion. You are acting beyond your authority.

For Louisiana,
Jeff Landry
Attorney General

48 thoughts on “AG Jeff Landry responds to Gov. Edwards regarding mask mandate

  1. I wear a mask when in public. However I don’t believe mask will stop the virus. Protest and gatherings are the cause of the virus spreading. Grow up if air can get through the mask so can the virus. Look at the padded numbers the state is reporting. It is all about money and politics. Why wasn’t Mardi Gras and the parades in California and New York cancelled early on? All 3 under democrat control. I am sure lots of people have chosen to forget all that.

  2. Since folks insist on shiny objects, here ya go.. Misinformation abounds. FB has finally started flagging most posts that are false. SARS was in 2003-04. Obama wasn’t in the WH. H1N1 was declared a pandemic during the Obama administration. He declared it a public emergency 6 wks before it was declared a pandemic. There had been zero US deaths by then, 20 actual cases. Sadly there were over 12,000 deaths in a year’s time. H1N1 appeared in the US in Ap 2009. In May Obama shut K-12 schools for 14 days. Obama spent around 306 times golfing in 8 yrs. The other one, about 264 and counting in less than 4 yrs. One time he was playing during the covid 19 pandemic. Too busy to be concerned.
    I hope you folks will actually start fact checking. It’s whack a mole time. Misinformation is being passed on fb, twitter and forums like this. Look it up. I do. It’s how we all learn what is true. Wear a mask. Stay well. Vote Dem in 2020.

    • YOU’RE the one that needs fact checking! Seek some kind of intervention please! TDS is real and a mask won’t help YOU!

    • You are just talking straight up lies. Talk about misinformation. Im glad we all arent gullible enough to believe it

  3. One individual to blame. One that completely ignored this from the start. It’ll be over in a couple of weeks. It’ll just magically disappear. Then the next individual in charge says itll be over by Memorial Day. I see your main individual says now that wearing a mask is patriotic. Indeed it is. Yet again I see him without one on. Hmm, very telling. Also that he now is withholding facts from the CDC. All this because he cannot, will not ever admit that he is wrong. Consistently, continually wrong. Wear a mask. Stay well.

    • I know an individual who did not ignore it from the start, but had to fight the opposing party to get anything done, because all they ever did was try to get rid of him. I’ve never seen a party spend the entire time, not working for the country, but having hearing after hearing trying to get rid of a man who was doing more for the country than the golden boy of the previous eight years. He loved to play golf you see, and thought his presence in DC and in the White House was all that was needed to run the country. We watched as he sat and watched brave men die. Now people are complaining the man sitting in the same White House in DC is not wearing a mask. What should it matter that he doesn’t, they don’t believe anything he says or does anyway, so what in the world is their problem. But for the most part, he is seen walking out to answer questions at a news conference in the rose garden, so he really needs to be without one to be understood. But poor man, everything he says is twisted anyway, but he keeps trying. He sits and works, all the while having to endure those people like a shimmer guy, who just keeps on and on and on. Why don’t they forget all this nonsense and try to work to better the country? Why are all the mayors who are members of this party objecting so to other law enforcement coming in to help them? This is all crazy. And this man, who some people complain about constantly, whine whine whine, has doctors who check him daily. I’m sure they check people who meet with him also. They take temperatures, just as they do to us when we get a haircut. So some people say he consistently, continually wrong, and I say REALLY? How do you explain the drop in unemployment numbers until the pandemic hit? How do you explain jobs coming back from foreign countries? How do you explain that the economy was so much better? Truthfully, I didn’t see your individual doing much. I do remember that person’s wife taking a vacation to China with her people, and spending untold sums of money. I do remember when both were taking a trip to California, tension between was so bad that they each took a government plane, though there was no need to. She went to appear on a television show. Really? So how about people quit blaming the man who sits in the White House now. He stopped flights from China and was blasted by that other party, the one he is not a member of, because he was doing something stupid. He did other things and was blasted. I have not always agreed with all he did, but I can say one thing. I think he has done more for this country than anyone has for a long time. Thank goodness he has a thick skin and strong will so that he can withstand all the ones who contradict every single thing he does. I am so sick of the news people who twist. I am so sick of pelosi, shumer, and the old dude who kept falling asleep during the hearings for the new Supreme Court Justice. He didn’t have a clue. Now that same party wants to stack the Supreme Court. They want to allow illegal immigrants to vote. And they want to follow the way of OMG or whoever she is and Bill Gates and a few others who want us all to have chips inserted into our bodies. NO! The President of the United States may not wear a mask, but I guarantee that he is checked, they know he o.k. He has tried to work with those across the aisle, but that doesn’t work, and the past 4 years have proved that. All we see from the other side of the aisle is hate, and that is a sad situation, because your party is changing, and I have to wonder when you will notice that. Wake up and take notice. I do not believe the President is in a crowd, he is keeping a safe distance in most cases. Wouldn’t you believe also, that people who do come around him have their temperature checked before they are even in the same room. So enough already. Talk to the people around here who go out, no mask. Talk to the ones in WalMart with no mask or a mask under their chin. I wear a mask, and if the President doesn’t and has medical personnel with him, then I would think it’s not really any of your concern. Obviously he is no where around you.

    • NO WRONG AGAIN! If you look back you will see he tried to close the border and screen people and the demos started screaming he was jumping the gun and it was no more dangerous then the flu. Blah blah blah then when it started getting worse then they say he wasn’t doing enough!

    • You do like to lie and misinform thats for sure. He shut border down for china and all the Democrats said he was a racists. Everything you THINK he did wrong in beginning was when he was listening to the lying WHO and CDC. When he quit listening to them stuff got done that nobody else could have for sure not dictator obama. He admits when he is wrong but you have to watch something besides CNN to know that or read new York times. You stay with rest of sherp herd and wear your mask that has bern proven mant times they dont work. If they did work and we have a mandate to wear them then they should open everything 100% after all the mask work so good no one could catch it RIIIIIIIGHT

  4. No one complains that the government makes us wear seatbelts, and yeah when I was younger I thought they were uncomfortable, but because I was told that they could save my life, I wore it. People complaining about wearing masks are just being ignorant and are attempting to politicize a public health crisis. Doctors wear masks even when there isn’t a global pandemic because they help prevent the spread of germs and keep their patients healthy. I don’t know about you guys but if I was having surgery I wouldn’t want my doctor to not wear a mask because they thought it was “uncomfortable”. If everyone really wants life to go back to normal then we should all be doing our best to protect ourselves and everyone else around us.

    • I still complain about wearing a seatbelt and if not at work I dont wear one. Ive seen people die with seatbelts on or off, seen people die that shouldn’t have and some you dont know how they lived. And life isnt going back to normal until after the election if TRUMP wins by December virus will fade and russia talk with impeachment will be the thing again

  5. If everyone would have listened the first time around when things were getting better we wouldn’t be back to were we are. They warned us but noooooo! And here we are still arguing about a stupid mask and still going backwards! People still spreading it, people still getting sick and people still dying! And idiots still whining about having to use a mask. Well when everything shuts back down and there’s no place to go again! Just shut up stay home and then you don’t have to use a MASK!

    • if i remember right–partys going on day and nite at mardi grais–N.O.–run by whom–

    • It isnt going backwards they are people being tested up to 15 times each time tested counts as a new case. Even the doctors on trumps team as said if someone has the virus and dies no matter what they die from its called a viruus death, There are thousands of people telling they get told they tested positive and they didnt take the test, i heard a nurse sent in brand new swabs twice both came back positive after every test she sent before was positive, in Florida a lab said 96% tested positive it was really 9%, another said 76% it was 6%. The numbers are complete lies and wont get better until after election in NOVEMBER no matter what we do

  6. Kristi and Matt you all talk about the governor, but you all support a racist president. Yes some of the protestors are probably to blame, but going to bars where there’s no social distancing is stupid. Furthermore, the ones at risk the most are blacks, so that’s when you all stop caring, meaning the Trump supporters.

    • I wish for JUST ONCE we could keep the race card out of it!! Please!!! Most of us are sick and tired of that card being played when 9 times out of 10 you say it about someone who it not racist, and I think you are doing it again. For goodness sake, keep on point and stop using that invalid argument. It’s nothing but name calling, and not addressing the point being discussed at all. Most of us would appreciate you considering this and leaving that card out of the deck. It’s a bit like the JOKER!

      • It has everything to do with race. Ever since 45 got elected the racist have came out in every shape form and fashion.

        • I don’t see it. Explain please! What has President Trump done that makes you think he is racist. Aren’t there more blacks and other who are not the so called privileged white working than ever before, at least there were before the pandemic? Why do you think so many black leaders are now supporting President Trump. In fact, he saw the problem with this COVID before anyone else recognized it, and tried to stop all flights from China, and met with opposition all the way. Now he is the blame for all of it based on what some people have to say. I don’t follow party lines, I look at what is being done for the country, as he is the leader of our great nation. He will now do what he has to do in order to stop the pandemic and the riots now happening across the country, and I’m sure that some people, no matter if they see good being done, will continue to find fault with his actions. He was in business before becoming president, and entertained and worked with people of all colors and nationalities. So, as I said, explain how he is a racist!

          • Called blacks thugs if they do something, but call the white supremacist fine people. He constantly talks about every other race as if they’re inferior to the white race. Could you explain to me his slogan Make America Great Again. Does he want to go back to the days when blacks were slaves?

        • Who was on the syrup bottle when Obama was president?
          Who was on the rice box when Obama was president?
          Why were statues not a problem when Obama was president?
          Did we have two national anthems when Obama was president?
          Do I need to continue? These things are not things President Trump started,these are race things that blacks started. Things Democrats started and support. The president could save a child from a shark attack and you would say he was starving sharks. You Trump haters blame everything on him. Open your eyes! Get woke as the idiots put it.

          • Folks can talk about all sorts of topics here. This one is about masks. No shiny objects folks. Wear a mask. Stay well.

          • Concerned citizen, do you honestly think the unemployment rate, the gangs, the jobs going overseas, high taxes, and poor schools were a good thing and did not need improvement. You are reaching when you say go back to times of slavery, and you know you are really stretching it! Do you honestly think that was what he meant? No you don’t, and none of us do. Be real when you criticize, or it all sounds a bit petty. Our country was once a country that cared about their neighbors, so tell me, did you really like the gang shootings? Did you really like the killing of children when a drive-by shooter just fired into a house and the bullet hit an innocent sleeping child? Did you really like people having to live on welfare because all the jobs had gone overseas? Did you really like the run down areas of towns across America? Did you really like our military being killed in wars that we have been fighting for years, and making no progress? Tell me, what did you really think was wrong in making America great again? Did you know China is buying up American land? They are buying up companies. Do you want China to be the governing body of the USA? The United States deserves respect, but with all that is going on these days as efforts are made to move forward, past the pandemic, there are THUGS out on the streets doing their best to destroy homes, businesses, killing innocent people. It’s time we support the President as he works to end all of this before it destroys us. I personally would like to know who is funding the Atifa. They appear everywhere, burning, looking and killing. Who started BLM? I personally believe all lives matter, for I believe God made us the same inside, just the outside looks different. I feel bad for what people of color have suffered at the hands of cruel people. It’s wrong. However I do not believe in the group BLM. Why? Because it was started by a Marxist, and what was their belief? Karl Marx was the biggest racist imaginable. So what is that. But this is off subject. I do know that there are more cases of COVID in the black communities. I would like to know why, and what we can do to help stop that. Are masks needed? I will make them and give them to a church where they can be given away. What do we need to do to help stop this? We cannot change history, it is what it is. However we can change the future, but not with all this hate. We need to accept the past and all the pain, and all the wrong that was done, and all the misunderstanding. Then we need to learn from it. Please don’t hate me, I’m asking, but I know I can’t stop the hate in anyone’s heart. But I can have acceptance and friendship in my heart, and it’s up to people to accept that offering, and accept it in kind. I hope you understand what I’ve said.

        • You evidently dont know what a racist is or all you watch is CNN and dont understand all that TRUMP has done for all races

      • I agree. When the left does not have a good answer they pull the race card and then blame the President.

        • Um, I’m talking about the shiny objects Repubs wave. No answers, shiny objects. No plan, shiny objects.

          • As normal you are confused! Go back and look and you will see Concerned citizen brought up the shiny object about race and slamming Trump. We were discussing mask until that point. Try to keep up! PLEASE!

    • Oh you must be a Democrat with your President is a racist. Just exactly prove he is instead of assuming. You can’t neither can the local new outlets that bash him at every chance they get. Exactly why I don’t watch the BS. I’m a Republican and I’m not a racist I’m Native American and if you all would quit believing in what news media outlets and social media is feeding you and research President Trump has done more than any acting President has for the Black communities. Try researching instead of talking 💩 when you actually don’t know what your talking about. Racist my ass.

      • I hope you will do some research. He is taking away some tribal lands in the NE. And what has he done for African Americans or Native Americans.

      • Realist!!!! You are so delusional until you are actually funny with yo bs!! I bet you patted yourself on the back. Its rooted in people like you, you will never understand with those blinders on. I wish somebody could really show me what the President has done better than any other sitting President???????….. Oh yeah!! Lied his azz off.

      • I am researching. Reading another David Limbaugh book. This one tells us all about Obama and all he did to try to destroy America. Tells you all about Preacher Wright (real hater of America) and a whole host of things he did to try to destroy America because we need to be punished for our past sins. Talk about a liar with his Obama Care. Pushing for socialized, undemocatic medical care. Forcing people to sign up like a dictator, So here is your choice: do you want to keep watching the destruction of America as we are seeing now, , or do you want to save America from devastation because of their push for a Socialist society? It is your choice. Research and learn: Not just the news.

    • Trump is far from being racist and just look at our lousy Governor
      he changed parties just to get the vote of African americans.
      He started off republican and moved to democrat.

    • Tell me, what makes him racist? He is employing the black community isn’t he, making their 401k rise thru the roof.. He’s only racist bc Pelosi and other Democrats said he was right.. Just curious

    • People that falsely call TRUMP a racist are uninformed andvare really the racist. Now obama that was a racists

  7. I’m glad someone finally had the cojones to place the bulk of the blame where it belongs with the protesters. Some figures have upwards of 25 million people participating in the protesting. While protesting is a great thing, it isn’t during a pandemic. Those protesters have killed numerous at risk people. Instead of placing the blame on the folks that have created the new wave, our politicians are praising the protesters and rioters and condemning bars, restaurants, churches, and schools. (but Walmart by the way is still the safest place on the planet…) Covid is the biggest political weapon we have ever seen.

  8. Shortsighted, selfish, irresponsible people are the ones perpetuating this virus. Wear a mask. Americans have always come together in a crisis. So be American. Help take care of someone else. Think of others. Wear a mask. Stay well.

  9. This infighting about the mask mandate needs to stop. This is not a political issue, it is a public health concern. Masks have been proven to help stop the spread of this disease. If masks are mandatory statewide, there should be no harm to businesses enforcing the mandate. People have no choice but to comply with the rules or they will have to stay home. Many more people, such as myself, feel much safer shopping now that the mandate is in place. Even President Trump was shown yesterday saying wearing a mask was patriotic.

    • no one has proven a mask works–unless u have x-ray vision to see the virus being stopped by a mask that the virus can get through it has lost their marbles–

      • Actually there are numerous videos on the Internet showing exactly how masks stop virus spread using live action of droplets released when speaking, coughing, or sneezing. It is very similar to an X-ray photo of the droplets. If both parties are wearing masks the risk of any virus particles reaching your airways is almost zero. You can see this on the videos. Bottom line: There’s not much we can do to limit spread other than trying masks.

  10. Thank you we totally agree with you on this matter. A lot of businesses will have to close because of the governor’s stupidity heck the nations stupidity. Why should people who are not sick and have worked the frontline with no mask to keep the state running have to cater to the fear of the ones whom have sat in their homes this whole so call democratic pandemic or the ones that all of a sudden felt it was safe enough to get out of their shelter and riot or protest with no mask on.. people need to wake up and see what is actually happening instead of trying to turn against each other.. #Trump2020

    • I agree with you Kristi,I have worked the last 2 months with no mask and I hate
      wearing one.It is also shown that even with the stupid thing the virus is increasing
      in number,just use common sense and hygiene.I wonder why the media wants to blow this
      up so much but when we had the (sars) outbreak with Obama we didn’t hear half of what
      we do know….# Vote Trump 2020

      • Matt, the virus is increasing because people have not worn masks. Previous viral outbreaks that made children sick and died should have had stricter infection control measures then. But the CDC dropped the ball. They drop the ball in terms of preventing the spread of infectious diseases that are resistant to antibiotics that dwell in hospitals. The last death rate I saw was approx. 100,000 deaths in one year from hospital based infections. My son was a victim of this with C diff. He was hospitalized with this after a visit to an ER where he contracted this. So thankful he is alive, but he tells me he is not the same and still suffers. !4,000 died of C diff in a recent year. These infections could be controlled with proper infection control consisting of mask, gloves and gowns and proper cleaning of Er rooms from one patient to another. Also in hospitals stricter quarantine on separate wards or nearby facilities. The past has been a miserable failure in terms of saving lives whose deaths could have been prevented. So please, Matt, look elsewhere for your justification of not wearing a mask. Today, hospital workers are wearing masks, face shields, gowns, shoe covers and hair covers to protect themselves from death due to Covid. Thankfully due to Dr, Fauci who had to pick up the dropped ball from the CDC so that now we are where we should be. . Surgical teams wear masks to prevent infection during surgery. How would you like to have surgery with none of the staff wearing masks. Masks protect both ways. Infection control was very effective in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. But steadily, it has been corrupted. Hopefully now, positive change can come about again and more lives will be saved.

      • And on Tuesday, Trump said to wear a mask. So your president is telling you they make a difference and to wear one. Still going to be an idiot about this? Of course you are because people like you have to have something to complain about.

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