DOJ asks federal appeals court to reverse order lifting CDC’s mass transit mask mandate

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to overturn a lower court’s ruling which found that the Centers for Disease Control lacked the authority to force travelers to wear masks, thus rendering the mandate unlawful.

Hours after the ruling by Trump-appointee Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, The White House said it would no longer enforce the public transportation mask mandate. Mizelle determined that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) failed to properly explain its decision to impose the mandate or follow appropriate rule-making procedures.

Federal officials, however, maintain that the CDC’s January 2021 order was well within the government’s legal authority.

“None of the district court’s quarrels with the CDC order comes close to showing that the CDC has acted outside the ‘zone of reasonableness,'” the DOJ said in its brief. 

In an April statement, the CDC argued that “an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health.” The agency further said that it would “continue to monitor public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary,” adding that the order is “well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health.”

Despite the Florida court’s ruling, the agency on May 3 urged travelers to continue to wear masks on flights, saying its recommendation was based on current COVID-19 conditions and spread as well as the protective value of masks.

Several studies have indicated that masks do little, if anything, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including a recent University of Sao Paulo study which found that masking may have actually increased pandemic deaths.

Meanwhile, critics have slammed the CDC’s attempt to reinstate mask mandates as an ill-disguised effort to maintain the unprecedented control the agency has wielded throughout the pandemic.