Law professor: Government can indeed require masks


You can burn an American flag in protest, but you can't go maskless. That's what a law professor says about constitutional arguments in the mask debate.

Some people have threatened legal action, arguing that government mask mandates intrude on personal freedoms. Do we have a constitutional right to defy mask orders?

"In general , no, it's a pretty bogus argument," said University of Alabama Law professor Ron Krotosyznski.

Krotosyznski said as long as the government isn't forcing people to wear mask as a punishment for expressing a political opinion, and can demonstrate the public health argument for it, then yes, government can order citizens to mask up.

He said court precedent says the government can even make you get shots, if it is in the interest of public health -- in a case where a man tried to argue he couldn't be forced to get a smallpox vaccine.

"The Supreme Court rejected that claim pretty squarely, because of the compelling interest of protecting the health of the entire community," he said. 

Krotosyznski says there may be some argument over what the punishment is -- but the requirement to wear masks would likely stand.