DOJ Appeals Mask Mandate Ruling After CDC’s Request

REUTERS/Hannah Beier

Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) stated it will appeal the ruling lifting the mask mandate on public transit after a getting request from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC requested the DOJ appeal a ruling by District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of Florida’s middle district that stated the mask mandate exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority under the Administration Procedure Act, according to a CDC statement.

“To protect CDC’s public health authority beyond the ongoing assessment announced last week, CDC has asked DOJ to proceed with an appeal in Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc., et al., v. Biden, et al.,” the statement said. “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 conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary.”

Health Freedom Defense Fund initially challenged the mandate in July 2021. The CDC statement said the agency believes the mask mandate on transportation to be lawful and “well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health.”

Mizelle’s ruling stated that the CDC’s mask requirement failed to adequately explain the mask’s effectiveness to keep something clean as “it neither ‘sanitizes’ the person wearing the mask nor ‘sanitizes’ the conveyance.” (RELATED: Federal Mask Mandate For Public Transportation Overturned By District Judge)

She declared the mask mandate fell outside of the federal regulation for sanitation used to justify the CDC’s mask requirement, since the agency couldn’t explain how a mask “actively destroys or removes” COVID-19.

Despite the DOJ’s plans to appeal Mizelle’s ruling, it will not be asking the court for a stay on the lower court’s decision, allowing passengers to continue to travel on public transportation without a mask while the issue is being decided, reported NBC.
“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 statement read.