CDC Tells Biden Administration to Appeal Mask Ruling

The Justice Department and the CDC "disagree with the district court's decision."

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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The Department of Justice said Tuesday it will appeal the decision by a federal judge to remove the nationwide mask mandate on transportation if the CDC concludes "that the order remains necessary for public health." On Wednesday, the CDC said it "has asked DOJ to proceed with an appeal."

In a statement, spokesperson Anthony Coley said the Justice Department and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "disagree with the district court's decision."

"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 CDC said Wednesday. "CDC's No. 1 priority is protecting the public health of our nation."

The CDC added mask wearing will help protect those around you, including the immunocompromised or those who are too young to be eligible for a vaccine.

The Department of Justice has since filed a notice of appeal, Coley said Wednesday afternoon.

On April 13, the CDC extended the mask mandate to May 3 while it assessed public health conditions. If the CDC decides an order is still needed after that, the Justice Department will appeal.

"The department continues to believe that the order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health. That is an important authority the department will continue to work to preserve," Coley added in a statement.

A federal judge on Monday overturned the US government's mask mandate on public transportation, calling it "unlawful."

The mandate "exceeds the CDC's statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rulemaking," US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a Trump appointee, said in a ruling on Monday in Tampa, Florida. 

The mandate had been extended to May due to the increase in COVID-19 cases driven by the BA.2 sub-variant.

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