A federal judge in Florida ruled Monday that the Centers for Disease Control and other federal agencies had overstepped their authority when issuing mask mandates for public transit and air travel.
The decision was handed down via a 59-page decision from Trump appointee U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who also said the CDC had failed to justify its mask mandates and to follow proper policymaking. From CNBC:
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the CDC had failed to adequately explain its reasons for the mandate, and did not allow public comment in violation of federal procedures for issuing new rules. Mizelle was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2020.
The Health Freedom Defense Fund, a group that opposes public health mandates, and two individuals who argued that wearing masks while flying exacerbated their anxiety and panic attacks first filed the lawsuit against the Biden administration in July 2021.
The court’s ruling comes less than a week after the CDC extended the mask mandate for 15 days, amid a rise in Covid infections nationwide due to the more contagious omicron BA.2 subvariant. The U.S. reported a seven-day average of nearly 35,000 new infections as of Friday, a 36% increase over the past two weeks, according to data from the CDC.
This ruling comes down less than a week after the CDC extended the mask mandates on commercial aircraft and public transit by 15 days, saying it needed to study the new BA.2 subservient currently tearing through the U.S. There is no information on whether or not the CDC will repeal the ruling. The Justice Department is reviewing the decision but declined to comment. The White House has yet to respond to the ruling.
Airlines have been pushing for an end to the mandates, as many of the recent surge in violent incidents on planes are centered around mask adherence. As of this writing, in with 744 events being mask related. Many European carriers have already dropped mask mandates, but the results are more canceled flights due to staff shortages.