The country erupted Monday as the nation’s mask mandate imposed upon travelers was struck down by a Florida judge who clearly “understood her assignment.”
U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelleon on Monday struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) rule that forced all travelers over the age of 2 to wear masks on airplanes, buses, trains and other modes of public transportation since February of last year.
The 59-page ruling called the mandate “unlawful,” and said the CDC overstepped its legal authority by imposing the mandate, bypassing the procedures required for agency rulemaking the judge wrote in her opinion.
The CDC extended its travel mask mandate several times and most recently, declared that it would continue to be in effect through May 3. The agency gave no scientific justification to support its decision — something the opinion noted.
After the ruling, a Biden administration official said, “TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time.”
Several airlines, including United, Delta, Southwest, Hawaiian, Frontier, American and Alaska, issued statements saying masks are now optional. Amtrak said masks would no longer be required on trains and Uber and Lyft also dropped their masking requirements.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Ana Carolina Daza and Sarah Pope, along with the Health Freedom Defense Fund (HFDF), a Wyoming nonprofit that stands for freedom of choice and bodily autonomy brought the challenge.
HFDF said in a press release:
“Without any public comment, or serious scientific justification, CDC bureaucrats imposed a sweeping Travel Mask Mandate applying to every American over the age of two,” said HFDF President Leslie Manookian. “There are laws that set boundaries for federal agencies to protect individual freedom and the Court clearly found that CDC exceeded those limits. Unelected officials cannot do whatever they like to our personal freedoms just because they claim good motives and a desirable goal.”
The lawsuit was brought by HFDF and two individual Florida residents, specifically alleging that the CDC exceeded its statutory authority and failed to abide by the federal Administrative Procedure Act.
Despite the ruling, the CDC said it “recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings,” while noting the administration is “assessing potential next steps.”
The travel mask mandate was one of the last remaining mask orders in effect as states across the country are waking up to the reality that masks do not work. The White House announced today it will not be appealing the ruling.