Federal Judge Overturns ‘Unlawful’ Federal Public Transportation Mask Mandate

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle has issued a ruling that declares the Biden administration’s federal mask mandate as “unlawful,” and says that the CDC did not have authority to impose the mandate in the first place per the Public Health Services Act of 1944.

A U.S. District Judge in Florida has thrown out the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airports, airplanes, and other forms of public transportation, ruling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have the authority to impose such mandates. As the issue stands now Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, has sent the “unlawful” mandate back to the CDC “for further proceedings.”

“We sued the Biden Administration over the nationwide mask mandate for travel … and it was announced today that we won!” the Health Freedom Defense Fund wrote in a Twitter post. The Fund, which sued Joe Biden in his official capacity as U.S. President in July over the mask requirement—and says it “stands for freedom, choice, and the most basic of human rights, bodily autonomy”—added that “the order was declared unlawful as per our lawsuit! You’ll see the story covered all over the mainstream media!”

According to a Forbes report “Mizelle ruled the CDC did not have authority to impose the mask mandate under the Public Health Services Act of 1944.” The Act was originally written to “consolidate and revise the laws relating to the Public Health Service.”

United States District Court of Florida Tampa Division

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,” Mizelle wrote in her ruling. Mizelle added that “The Court concludes that the Mask Mandate exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rule-making under the APA.”

According to Forbes Mizelle specifically claimed that “the law only lets the CDC impose measures related to ‘inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination [and] destruction.'” Mizelle said that mask-wearing doesn’t fall under any of those categories.

Many outlets are noting Mizelle’s age as they report on this ruling, as she was only 33 years old when appointed to the federal bench in 2020. But while that fact is irrelevant, what isn’t is the likelihood that people will be allowed to stop wearing masks ASAP. As silicon valley entrepreneur and founder of The COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund Steve Kirsch notes, we should expect the Biden administration to repeal the ruling. Not only that, but Kirsch expects “every affected company to comply with the CDC invalid mandate.” Which makes it seem like the phenomenon of bare faces returning to flights still has a long way to go before taking off.

Feature image: Matthias Mueller

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