Florida court overturns CDC mask-wearing rule for planes and trains, calling it ‘illegal’

A federal judge on Monday overruled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s rule that all travelers must wear masks on planes, buses, trains and other public transportation. , calling it “illegal”.

A ruling from Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of the United States District Court in Tampa, Florida, said the CDC exceeded its legal authority when it imposed the mandate in February 2021.

The mask requirement “violates the procedures necessary for the agency’s rule-making,” Mizelle wrote.

The CDC has extended the travel mask rule several times, most recently extending it to May 3.

Brant Hadaway, the attorney introducing the lawsuit, told NBC News: “The court agreed that the CDC exceeded its statutory authority by ordering people to enter a tourist vehicle or tourist center. schedule to wear a mask.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are two women, Ana Carolina Daza and Sarah Pope, along with the Foundation for the Defense of Medical Freedom, a Wyoming nonprofit that has challenged Covid vaccination and mask mandates in communities around the world. other regions of the country.

The lawsuit alleges that the CDC’s mandate is “arbitrary and capricious,” because it grants immunity to some groups — like children under the age of 2 — but not others.

Daza said her anxiety should qualify for a medical exemption under the CDC regulations, while Pope said her “masked-induced breathlessness” exacerbated her panic attacks. that.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the Biden administration argue that Congress gives Congress broad authority to take reasonable public health measures to prevent the spread of the disease. They said the issue of masks is a routine hygiene measure that falls under the authority of the CDC.

The Justice Department declined to immediately comment on whether the government would seek to block the judge’s order and allow the mandate to remain in effect. The CDC, FAA and TSA said they are evaluating their options, and the MTA said they will continue to follow CDC guidelines as they consider the new decision.

Judge Mizelle, who served as clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was appointed to the Central Florida bench by President Donald Trump in 2020.

This is an out of the ordinary story. Check again for updates.

Marc Caputo and David K. Li contribute.

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