Judge Rejects CDC’s Unfounded Mask Mandate for Travel

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U.S. District Court Judge Mizelle today vacated the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) mask mandate for public transit, such as airports, train stations, airplanes, buses, etc.

“The CDC cannot use a provision for cleaning properly to require people to wear masks,” explained CEI Attorney Devin Watkins. “Judge Mizelle properly returned the power to airlines and passengers to decide if masks should be worn.”

For over a year, the CDC has threatened criminal and civil penalties as well as mandatory removal for not wearing a mask in airports, train stations, and other transportation hubs. According to federal Judge Mizelle, the CDC actions were all illegal and beyond the power Congress gave the agency. Therefore she has invalidated the mandate.

The CDC claimed this authority under the Public Health Services Act of 1944 section 264(a). The CDC had previously invoked this provision to claim the power to shut down the cruise ship industry and stop landlords from evicting tenants who have not paid their rent, both of which were subsequently invalidated by courts.

The government’s case unraveled when it unconvincingly argued that the statute granting powers over “sanitation” justified the mask mandate. Yet there was another problem for the government, Watkins explained.

“Even if Congress wanted to give the CDC the power to apply measures for ‘preserving and promoting public health’, such a broad and vague power cannot be explicitly delegated by Congress under established legal doctrines.”