Report: Justice Department Will Appeal Lifting of Federal Mask Mandate Ruling

The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Justice Department is planning to appeal the judge’s ruling which recently lifted the federal mask mandate for travel.

According to a statement, the DOJ and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal, subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health.”

The Washington Examiner reports:

The Biden administration announced hours earlier that it would appeal the judge’s ruling that voided the federal mask mandate on airplanes, trains, buses, and other public transportation — but only if the CDC concluded that an extension was necessary to avoid future outbreaks. However, President Joe Biden said travelers should decide for themselves whether to wear face coverings, telling reporters Tuesday it was “up to them.”

Several airlines dropped their mask mandates Monday night, hours after a federal judge struck down the mask mandate. The mask mandate had been set to expire May 3 after the Biden administration extended the requirement last week, noting it was contingent on the CDC’s assessment of current transmission rates attributed to the BA.2 omicron subvariant.

“Before the district court’s decision, CDC explained that the order would remain in effect while it assessed current health conditions, and that the Transportation Security Administration would extend its directive implementing the order until May 3 to facilitate CDC’s assessment,” the DOJ said Tuesday night. “If CDC concludes that a mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health after that assessment, the Department of Justice will appeal the district court’s decision.”

Mandatory masking on transit and airlines has not been popular, with airline groups lobbying to end the rule and several GOP lawmakers rampinf up pressure recently on the Biden administration to rescind what they argue is an “unnecessary” mandate.

Support for mandatory masking has also fallen in recent polls. It’s likely that the Biden administration’s decision to challenge the Florida judge’s ruling will lead to a further dip in the president’s approval ratings.


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