The Biden administration will appeal a court ruling by a U.S. district judge who ruled Monday that the administration’s national mask mandate on public transportation was “unlawful.”
The announcement from the Biden administration comes after U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle for the Middle District of Florida ruled that the mandate was unlawful because the mandate “exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority, improperly invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain its decisions.”
“The Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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 DOJ said in a press released. “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. That is an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve.”
“On April 13, 2022, before the district court’s decision, CDC explained that the order would remain in effect while it assessed current public health conditions, and that the Transportation Security Administration would extend its directive implementing the order until May 3 to facilitate CDC’s assessment,” the statement continued. “If CDC concludes that a mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health after that assessment, the Department of Justice will appeal the district court’s decision.”
In response to a question from a reporter about whether passengers should continue to wear masks on flights, Democrat President Joe Biden said that it’s “up to them.”
Mizelle’s ruling said that Court declared the mandate to be unlawful 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, remanding it to the CDC for further proceedings consistent with this order,” Mizelle ordered. “The Court directs the Clerk to TERMINATE President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as a Defendant to this action, to ENTER final judgment in favor of Plaintiffs as prescribed in this order, and to CLOSE this case.”
Mizelle, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was appointed to U.S. District Court by former President Donald Trump.
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This report has been updated to include additional information.