3 min read

Mask Mandate Ruling Impacts Public Transportation

The Department of Justice appeals ruling by federal judge to strike down CDC's masking mandate on public transportation.
Mask Mandate Ruling Impacts Public Transportation

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) appealed a federal court ruling that struck down a mask requirement for passengers on all public transportation after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that the mandate was necessary to protect the public from the spread of the coronavirus, according to The New York Times.

"The mandate had been in place since shortly after President Biden took office in January 2021, and was set to expire on April 18. But despite pressure from airlines, the hospitality industry and Republican lawmakers to lift the rule, the CDC. extended it until May 3 to give public health experts more time to assess whether it should be continued," writes Sheryl Gay Stolberg for The New York Times.

Justice Dept. Appeals to Reinstate Transportation Mask Mandate (Sheryl Gay Stolberg - The New York Times)

Excerpt from The New York Times: While the CDC wants to keep the mandate intact, it is also pressing the appeal to preserve its public health powers. But doing so is potentially risky; if the ruling striking down the mandate is upheld, that could permanently weaken the agency’s authority. “This sets up a clash between public health and a conservative judiciary, and what’s riding on it is the future ability of our nation’s public health agencies to protect the American public,” said Lawrence O. Gostin, an expert in public health at Georgetown University.
Embed from Getty Images

"It was not immediately clear whether the DOJ had asked for a stay of the ruling that the CDC overstepped its authority by imposing the mask rule," writes Steve Nelson and Samuel Chamberlain for the New York Post, but "if a stay is ordered, it would immediately force many airlines, airports, mass transit authorities and even Uber and Lyft to reimpose mandates days after making masks optional."

DOJ to appeal ruling striking down mask mandate after CDC gives OK (Steve Nelson & Samuel Chamberlain - New York Post)

Excerpt from New York Post: “To protect CDC’s public health authority beyond the ongoing assessment announced last week, CDC has asked DOJ to proceed with an appeal,” the CDC said in a Wednesday statement. "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. 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.”
Embed from Getty Images

"The decision by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking procedures that left it fatally flawed," writes Curt Anderson for AP.

Florida judge voids US mask mandate for planes, other travel (Curt Anderson - AP)

Excerpt from the Associated Press: In her 59-page ruling, Mizelle said the only remedy was to vacate the rule entirely across the country because it would be impossible to end it for the limited group of people who objected in the lawsuit. The judge said “a limited remedy would be no remedy at all” and courts have full authority to make a decision such as this — even if the CDC’s goals in fighting the virus are laudable.
Embed from Getty Images

Read more about the CDC:

Special Report: A Brief History of the CDC
Founded in 1946 to prevent the spread of malaria across the US, the health agency is still at the forefront of the battle against deadly diseases.