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WATCH: Justice Department Will Appeal Travel Mask Mandate Ruling, If CDC Deems It Necessary

WATCH: Justice Department Will Appeal Travel Mask Mandate Ruling, If CDC Deems It Necessary

Since a Trump-appointed Federal Judge in Florida ruled that the Federal mask mandate for travel on commercial airlines was an illegal overreach, the nation has been wondering whether the government will fight to reinstate it. We now have half of the answer, as the U.S. Department of Justice responds that they will do so — but only if the CDC agrees that the mandate is still necessary for health and safety.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 19: Airline staff and passengers wait to be screened at John F. Kennedy Airport on April 19, 2022 in New York City. On Monday, a federal judge in Florida struck down the mask mandate for airports and other methods of public transportation as a new COVID variant is on the rise across parts of the United States. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

According to NPR experts say that U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a Trump appointee who the American Bar Association rated “not qualified” when the then-president placed her in the role, is operating on a misunderstanding of public health law.

The law gives the government power to impose rules regarding travel safety and sanitation, including “inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, destruction of animals or articles found to be so infected or contaminated as to be sources of dangerous infection to human beings, and other measures” if deemed necessary. However, Judge Mizelle disagreed with the Administration’s argument that masks fall under the term “sanitation.”

As you can hear in the ABC clip below, the DOJ is prepared to defend the mandate by appealing it to a higher court, if and only id the CDC deems the safety measure to still be necessary.

The Centers for Disease Control has not yet stated whether it will encourage an appeal, but did update its page on the mask mandate to acknowledge the court order, and to reiterate that wearing masks on public transportation is still recommended.

As a result of a court order, effective immediately and as of April 18, 2022, CDC’s January 29, 2021 Order requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect. Therefore, CDC will not enforce the Order. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time. This page will be updated soon to provide additional information about recommendations.

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