Justice Department Will Appeal Repeal Of Travel Mask Mandate
The Department of Justice is filing an appeal to the Florida court ruling, which deemed the Biden administration’s transportation mask mandate unlawful, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s request.
“It is CDC’s continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health,” the CDC said in a statement following two weeks of rising COVID-19 cases due to the BA.2 subvariant. “CDC will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary. CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health.”
The appeal will take the case to a higher court for reevaluation. The DOJ did not include a request to reinstate the mask mandate in the meantime, which signals the appeal is likely a way to maintain the CDC’s authority rather than concern over spiking COVID cases, which White House press secretary Jen Psaki alluded to in a conversation with CNN’s Chris Wallace on Wednesday night.
“We know there’s going to be ups and downs in this pandemic, we’re all ready for it to be over. But we want to ensure that our public health experts are able to take steps, if needed, in the future,” she said.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of Tampa, Florida, ruled that the CDC had violated its administrative law duties by neglecting to present adequate reasoning for the mandate and not allowing public input, which is required when issuing new laws.
A number of major airlines, such as United, Delta and Southwest quickly dropped their mask mandates after the ruling and Transportation Security Administration joined them in announcing that they would no longer be enforcing the mandate.