Federal Judge Overrules Biden, Strikes Down CDC Mask Mandate for Public Transport

A Trump-appointed federal judge in Florida has overruled Democrat President Joe Biden and struck down the administration’s mask mandates for traveling on planes, trains, and other forms of public transportation.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the CDC exceeded its statutory authority and failed to properly justify its decision in her decision to vacate the mask mandate.

The ruling comes less than a week after the CDC decided to extend the mandate for 15 more days as it was set to expire.

In her 59-page ruling, Mizelle said she had no choice but to vacate the entire rule because it would be impossible to end it for the small number of people who objected to it in the lawsuit.

“Because our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends, the court declares unlawful and vacates the mask mandate,” the judge wrote.

“The court concludes that the mask mandate exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rulemaking under the APA.”

“Accordingly, the court vacates the mandate and remands it to the CDC.”

ABC reported:

The mask requirement for travelers was the target of months of lobbying from the airlines, which sought to kill it.

The carriers argued that effective air filters on modern planes make transmission of the virus during a flight highly unlikely.

Republicans in Congress also fought to kill the mandate.

Critics have seized on the fact that states have rolled back rules requiring masks in restaurants, stores and other indoor settings, and yet COVID-19 cases have fallen sharply since the omicron variant peaked in mid-January.

From CBS:

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The CDC recently extended the mask mandate, which was set to expire on April 18, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus that is now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the U.S.

The judge also wrote that the court “accepts the CDC’s policy determination that requiring masks will limit COVID-19 transmission and will thus decrease the serious illnesses and death that COVID-19 occasions” but “that finding by itself is not sufficient to establish good cause.”

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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