Judge Rejects Transportation Mask Mandate

Judge Rejects Transportation Mask Mandate

By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — A Florida federal judge on Monday struck down a requirement that travelers wear masks in airports and on planes, trains and buses, saying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority as it tried to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who is based in Tampa, issued a 59-page decision that sided with the Health Freedom Defense Fund and two individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed last year.

Mizelle wrote, in part, that the mask requirement exceeded the CDC’s authority under a law known as the Public Health Services Act and refuted an argument by federal attorneys that the requirement was a legal “sanitation” measure.

“The government interprets ‘sanitation’ and ‘other measures’ to include traditional techniques that impede the spread of disease,” Mizelle wrote. “One definition it relies upon is even broader, defining ‘sanitation’ as the ‘applying of measures for preserving and promoting public health.’ If Congress intended this definition, the power bestowed upon the CDC would be breathtaking. And it certainly would not be limited to modest measures of ‘sanitation’ like masks.”

Mizelle also ruled that the CDC violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act, in part because it did not give the public proper time to review and comment on the mask rule before it was put in place. Also, she wrote that the requirement was “arbitrary and capricious” because the CDC didn’t adequately explain its reasoning.

“The mandate does not address alternative (or supplementary) requirements to masking, such as testing, temperature checks or occupancy limits in transit hubs and conveyances,” wrote Mizelle, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Donald Trump. “It also does not explain why all masks — homemade and medical-grade — are sufficient.”

It was not immediately clear whether the federal government would appeal the decision.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the ruling a “disappointing decision” and said it is being reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security and the CDC.

“We’re continuing to recommend people wear masks,” Psaki said.

The ruling came five days after the federal Transportation Security Administration, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, extended the mask requirement to May 3. The requirement had been scheduled to expire Monday.

In a statement Wednesday about the extension, the Transportation Security Administration pointed to increased COVID-19 cases, particularly involving the BA.2 subvariant of the coronavirus.

“Since early April 2022, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of COVID-19 cases in the United States,” the statement said. “During the 15-day extension period, CDC will assess the potential impact the recent rise of COVID-19 cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations, deaths, and health care system capacity.”

The ruling also came less than three weeks after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, joined by attorneys general from 20 other states, filed a similar lawsuit in federal court in Tampa. That case is pending.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has battled the Biden administration over COVID-19 issues, praised Mizelle’s decision.

“Great to see a federal judge in Florida follow the law and reject the Biden transportation mask mandate. Both airline employees and passengers deserve to have this misery end,” DeSantis said in a Twitter post.

— News Service staff writer Jim Turner contributed to this report.

14 Responses to "Judge Rejects Transportation Mask Mandate"

  1. O/T —

    Would like to see TR investigative reporting on the new development in the state attorney’s office regarding the Markel case.

    The Tallahassee Democrat states,
    “But portions of the six-year-old conversation, which was recorded by the FBI at a Miami Beach restaurant, were never clear enough to make out. That is until recently, when a newly enhanced version was handed over to prosecutors.”

    How and who did the enhancement and if this is a legitimate enhancement why did it take so long? This questions the credibility of the State Attorney’s office especially regarding the timing. Desperate?

  2. This may help some of our folks having emotional issues giving up their mask:
    Go to any local Publix in your communitty and just do your own informal poll of the numbers of customers wearing a mask vs
    not wearing a mask.
    Publix as you may know is the perferred shopping place of choice by white liberal Tallahassee. These communitty leaders would never ever be seen in the Piggly Wiggly on the southside where the pricing is 1/2 or less for the same cart of grocerys in comparison to Publix. These are your local leftist voters you look up to who will tell you Winn Dixie is dirty…you know who I’m talking about. Your heros.
    Anyway back to your informal Publix mask vs. no mask informal poll assignment. I have done this at a few local Publix stores and the observed results are overwhelmingly in favor of no mask. Wake up local mask clingers its over. Quite likely what we are seeing in the local Publix stores within the ultra liberal Democrat voting Tallahassee area is very relatable to what many feel will be an overwhelming rejection of all things leftist, woke, or just plain stupid in the upcoming mid-term elections.
    Go ahead do the informal Publix mask vs. non-mask polling for yourself next time you find yourself pushing your smooth rolling cart down the wide isles where shopping is a pleasure.
    Once you understand what you just witnessed with your own eyes I promise you will feel that sweet freedom and quickly put your formally beloved mask in your purse or pocket before you run into someone you know who will politly just shake their head and think “I always knew – FILL IN YOUR NAME – was an effin idiot”.
    Be free and prosper my local citizens!!!!!!

  3. Lena,

    Thank you for yet another perfect example that you are unable to state anything positive that Biden has done, you won’t take accountability for his failures, so you attack those who are actually succeeding.

    If you want to see a lemming look in the mirror.

  4. More dead Republicans then. They just keep walking over the cliff like little lemmings following their idiot governor and their reality TV star God.

    As dim as Ronnie is, he is vaccinated. Trump is vaccinated and they made sure all their voters in The Villages got vaccinated first.

    Apparently, the rest of you don’t matter, right? They even discourage you to wear a protective mask. The smart people will. You people won’t.


    PS: They couldn’t come up an effective flu vaccine this year because not enough people got sick with it to get good samples. Why? Because the masks stopping COVID also stopped the flu. Masks work.

  5. More dead Republicans then. They just keep walking over the cliff like little lemmings following their idiot governor and their reality TV star God.

    As dim as Ronnie is, he is vaccinated. Trump is vaccinated and they made sure all their voters in The Villages got vaccinated first.

    Apparently, the rest of you don’t matter, right? They even discourage you not to wear a protective mask. The smart people will. You people won’t.


  6. The eviction moratorium hurt me badly. Had a 3-income family living in my rental. When the moratorium went into effect they just quit paying. I’m out nearly $6,000.

    Regarding masks, when this all started the Walmart on the Parkway had an assortment of fun masks. They were worthless for protection, but the masks were excellent at getting comments from strangers and starting up conversations! I got the idea to find these from a woman in line to vote with me back in 2020. Her mask was a puppy dog and the color of the fur matched her tan almost exactly. You did a double-take to realize that it wasn’t a dog’s head sticking up through that shirt collar!!! (Kudos to her!)

  7. I never worn a mask, even in the beginning.

    Do you ever wonder who the 30 percent of voters are that approve of Biden’s performance. Well, when you see someone alone in their car wearing a mask….there is one of them.

    Do you know a 40 year two pack a day smoker that always wears a mask….there is another one.

    In my opinion, if you are wearing a mask, especially the sale old dirty one every day, you’re ignorant. Dumb as a box of rocks.

    But look at all the people still today wearing a mask under some false pretense it will protect them from COVID. Blame the Democrats for scaring so many people about COVID just to use the disease as a vehicle to cheat in elections. Democrats will stop at nothing to win.

    I say, if you voted for Biden, you should be required to wear a mask. Otherwise, stop trying to protect us from ourselves.

  8. This is the fourth time the courts have had to give people back their rights taken away from them by the CDC bureaucrats. Cruise line shut downs, eviction moratorium, vaccine mandates and now mask mandates on airplanes.

  9. While signs do point to a conservative sweep of the midterms right now the left still has that election fraud/cheating thing up and running in Supervisors of Elections offices across the country.
    All they need do is claim just a fraction of the millions they have allowed to cross the southern boarder voted for leftist candidates in key battleground states.

    There will be little conservatives in the DC Swamp will actually want to do to dispute their claim because they are RINOs and benifit from the status quo remaing the same. Remember Trump never actually drained the swamp.

    So while things generally do point to the conservative midterm sweep that is reliant on fair and honest elections. Does anyone think the left will be fair this time? And what if they are not?

  10. Each Variant of Covid is getting Weaker than the last to where it is like the common Cold so, end ALL Mandates.

  11. Democrats, Dr. Fraudci, and their Media PACs lied… and hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans have died or have had their lives ruined because of it… it’s just that simple, and there’s no getting around that fact.

    Tony Fraudci is the Joseph Mengele of our time, and I believe that history will bear this out. If you’re still buying into the whole China Bio-Weapon Flu Scamdemic, or the latest Omi’con-job… then you deserve the misery it causes in your life.

  12. I too celebrate conservative victorys we have been seeing here and there. You got this Judge issueing an anti liberal mask rulling. You got Elon Musk giving Twitter hell. You got the Biden total failure from day one. Keep it comming!!!

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