During the pandemic, school districts in New Jersey began requiring that masks be worn by anyone who wanted to attend school board meetings. In 2022, just before the mask mandates ended, two residents in Freehold and Cranford refused to wear face coverings to their respective school board meetings, and they were charged with trespassing.
They have maintained that they had a First Amendment freedom to not wear masks, but this week, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that they did not.
An attorney for the officials named in the suit praised the ruling, saying refusing to wear a mask in violation of a public health mandate "is not the sort of 'civil disobedience' that the drafters of the First Amendment had in mind as protected speech."
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, who was not involved in the case, says the state probably did not have the right to mandate masks in the first place.
"The mandates weren't really law," he points out. "They were executive decisions, which can be enforced by other areas of state law, but, by and large, these were malleable executive decisions."
Dr. John Witcher, a general practitioner in rural Mississippi and one of the founders of the Mississippi Against Mandates group, says there was no medical reason for mask mandates.
"The virus itself is way too small," he explains. "It would go through … these typical surgical masks that people were told to wear."
And that, he says, was only one of the things that was mismanaged during the pandemic.
"Dr. Peter McCullough and others have claimed that as many as 80% of the people that died did not have to die, that they would been treated appropriately," Dr. Witcher notes. "I agree with that."
Now, as the World Health Organization (WHO) is pressuring countries to sign on to a treaty that would give the United Nations agency complete control over the next pandemic, Staver warns that the mandates and closures might not be behind us.
"They want to make this writ-large on a global scale," he asserts. "Not just as an advisory to the world, but mandatory -- and Joe Biden is planning to sign America onto the WHO amendments."
As AFN has reported, the WHO's director general denies that the accord is a "power grab," calling it instead a "mission critical for humanity" during the next world medical emergency -- which he promises is coming.
Even if the plan is finalized, the U.S. is technically not bound to abide by rules created within the WHO, but the United States and 195 other countries are legally bound by the International Health Regulations that were adopted by the WHO in 2005.