The Biden administration will appeal a court decision by a federal judge in Florida who ruled that the administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other forms of public transportation was unlawful.
“The Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal, subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement. “The Department continues to believe that the order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health. That is an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve.”
“On April 13, 2022, before the district court’s decision, CDC explained that the order would remain in effect while it assessed current public health conditions, and that the Transportation Security Administration would extend its directive implementing the order until May 3 to facilitate CDC’s assessment,” the statement continued. “If CDC concludes that a mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health after that assessment, the Department of Justice will appeal the district court’s decision.”
The same day as the DOJ’s announcement, President Biden said that American travelers should be allowed to make their own decision on whether they want to wear masks on airplanes.
As he spoke to reporters after landing in New Hampshire, Biden was asked if people should continue to wear masks on planes, to which he replied, “That’s up to them.”
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, Florida, ruled that the mask mandate “exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority, improperly invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain its decisions.”
She added that “our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends.”
“The Court DECLARES UNLAWFUL and VACATES the Mask Mandate, remanding it to the CDC for further proceedings consistent with this order,” Mizelle ordered. “The Court directs the Clerk to TERMINATE President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as a Defendant to this action, to ENTER final judgment in favor of Plaintiffs as prescribed in this order, and to CLOSE this case.”