Hi, I’m Danny Karon, your Lovable Lawyer here with your quick shot of legal wellness.
Face mask foes won a key victory yesterday when Judge Catherine Kimball Mizelle struck down the national mask mandate covering planes, trains, buses, and other public transportation as exceeding U.S. health officials’ authority.
What exactly was this lawsuit about? What did she rule and can her ruling have such a sweeping effect? In July of 2021, a non-profit called the Health Freedom Defense Fund sued the Federal government to overturn the mask requirement on public transportation. In her 59-page opinion, Judge Mizelle ruled not that the CDC couldn’t implement this rule, but that it had failed to justify the requirement and hadn’t followed proper rulemaking required by the Public Health Service Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. She added that a limited remedy, as in one that applied just to the Fund, would really be no remedy at all because it would be impossible to end the mandate for the limited group of people who brought the lawsuit. This meant voiding the rule nationwide.
Can one federal judge do this? Well, because the CDC as a whole is a party to the decision, her ruling has a nationwide impact. That means the CDC’s public transportation masking order isn’t in effect right now.
What happens next? The country’s largest airlines – Delta, United, Southwest, and Alaska – have already declared masks optional, yet state-owned and operated – New Jersey Transit and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority – will keep their requirements.
Worth noting is that every other courtroom attempt to reverse mask mandates has failed, including three times at the U.S. Supreme Court. This raises the question: will Judge Mizelle’s ruling survive on appeal? Perhaps her ruling will stay pending appeal. Perhaps it won’t. The bottom line though is to keep wearing a mask if you want to and wait.
If you’d like to learn more about legal wellness, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and join me at yourlovablelawyer.com. Until next time, I’m Danny Karon, your Lovable Lawyer.
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