WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — The Biden administration may appeal a federal judge’s decision to strike down the nation-wide mask mandate for public transportation if the CDC says it’s still necessary.
The announcement was made in a Tuesday press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.
It comes a day after the mask mandate for public transportation, including airplanes and airports, was struck down by a Florida-based federal judge who argued the CDC lacked the authority to impose its sweeping mandate.
The Biden administration’s Department of Justice stated in a press release that the DOJ and 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 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,” the federal agency added. “That is an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve.”
Breaking News: The Biden administration said it intended to appeal the federal ruling that struck down a mask requirement for public transportation, if the CDC decides to extend the mandate beyond May 2. https://t.co/ycsIo8oQmX
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 19, 2022
LifeSiteNews previously reported that on April 18 U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a Trump-appointee who previously clerked for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, struck down the CDC mask mandate for public transportation, calling the controversial rule “unlawful.”
“Because ‘our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in the pursuit of desirable ends,’ the court declares unlawful and vacates the mask mandate,” Mizelle wrote in her 59-page ruling, which voided the mandate just days after the CDC had elected to extend it for another 15 days.
Within hours of the court’s decision, major U.S. airlines including United, Southwest, American, and Alaska, released statements affirming that their mask mandates had been lifted, making mask-wearing optional for all domestic flights. Uber, Amtrak, and other public transportation companies also announced they would scrap their mask rules.
It’s unclear whether the CDC will continue to insist that mandatory masking is necessary on public transportation following the federal court’s Monday ruling.
Last month, the federal agency stripped back its mask recommendations for over 99% of indoor venues, leading the CEOs of 10 major U.S. airlines to contend that “[i]t makes no sense that people are still required to wear masks on airplanes, yet are allowed to congregate in crowded restaurants, schools and at sporting events without masks, despite none of these venues having the protective air filtration system that aircraft do.”
When asked by a reporter Tuesday whether Americans should continue to mask up on airplanes regardless of the federal ruling striking down the rule, President Joe Biden said it was “up to them.”