Biden Administration Appeals No-Mask Ruling at Request of CDC

U.S. President Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden

The White House Wednesday afternoon appealed a Monday decision by a Florida judge that struck down the administration’s travel mask mandate. The ruling found the mask mandate  was an overreach by the CDC.

In the early hours following the ruling, the U.S. federal government initially appeared unlikely to challenge the ruling that gutted a key element of the Biden administration's efforts to combat COVID-19.

However, as Open Jaw reported, officials left the door open for an appeal, looking to the CDC for its determination that the threat of the current wave of the virus and newest variants made continued travel mask mandates necessary.

That happened on Wednesday afternoon, with the CDC issuing a statement saying, “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."

The CDC also defended itself against the Florida judge’s findings that it exceeded its legal mandate. “CDC will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary. CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC's legal authority to protect public health.”

As a CNN report says, the Florida ruling “caught much of the administration, airline industry, local public transit departments and everyday Americans off-guard.”

But all major U.S. airlines, as well as many airports and other transportation companies, quickly dropped mask requirements. Considering how contentious mask-wearing has been, it seems unlikely another quick policy reversal would be enacted - or could be enforced.

In fact, the Department of Justice’s appeal didn’t include a request to reinstate the mask mandate pending the appeal. That’s a “standard move” normally in emergency appeals.

Media reports suggest the administration therefore has a different goal in mind than a return to mandatory masking on American flights.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN that the appeal was also about preserving the authority of the CDC to issue future health mandates.

"That's important for two reasons: One because we think it's entirely reasonable, as does the Department of Justice, for the CDC, the health and data experts -- health experts most importantly in our administration -- to be able to have that time to evaluate,” Psaki said.

“But also because they want to fight to ensure the CDC's authority and ability to put in mandates in the future remains intact."

Lynn Elmhirst


With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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