The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that lifted the CDC’s mask mandate for travel on public transportation.
“It is CDC’s continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health,” the agency said in a statement. “CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health.”
The CDC’s request comes a day after the DOJ said it would appeal to revive the CDC mask mandate if the CDC still thinks the mandate “remains necessary for public health.”
The CDC’s announcement follows a ruling by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who was appointed by former President Trump, that struck down the federal mask mandate. Mizelle ruled that the CDC overstepped its authority with its mask mandate on planes and other forms of public transportation.
In her order issued Monday, Mizelle dedicates pages of writing to the definition of the term “sanitization” — and suggested the CDC’s purview was restricted to cleaning things.
“Wearing a mask cleans nothing,” Mizelle wrote. “At most, it traps virus droplets. But it neither ‘sanitizes’ the person wearing the mask nor ‘sanitizes’ the conveyance.”
The CDC’s most recent extension of the nationwide mask mandate was issued last week. The extension was scheduled to last through May 3.