WASHINGTON, April 21 – The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday overturned a judge’s decision to revoke a public transport and air traffic control order after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the move was still needed.
A U.S. regional judge ruled Monday that the authority, which operates on airplanes, trains and other public transportation, is illegal. The Department of Justice said it would appeal the decision if the CDC ruled that a 14-month warrant was still needed.
The Department of Justice has filed a notice to appeal this decision in the 11th Regional Court, but did not say whether it intended to obtain an urgent order to restore the requirement or provide details of the reasons for the appeal.
The CDC said on Wednesday it had asked the Department of Justice to pursue the complaint and that “an order requiring a mask to cover the internal transport corridor is still needed in public life.”
Airlines quickly relinquished the authority on Monday evening after the White House informed reporters and industry officials that the government would no longer exercise the authority. Users of social media have posted videos of flight attendants on another trip announcing that the authority has expired during the flight with many enjoying the news, while others have expressed outrage that the mask rules have been abruptly reduced.
The mandate was applied to planes, trains, passenger cars and other public transport and, before Monday’s decision, was due to expire on May 3 unless the CDC sought new extension.
The US Travel Association said on Wednesday that “the mask was very important at the time the epidemic was rampant” but in the current environment “the necessary face masking on public transport is not in line with the current state of public health.”
The decision follows other court decisions that contradict Biden executives’ orders to fight an infectious disease that has killed nearly a million Americans, including vaccinating or authorizing COVID testing for employers.
The CDC also lost court battles over the powers of COVID-19, especially when the Supreme Court in August overturned a state suspension related to the eviction epidemic.